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THE 

STRAND 



MAGAZINE 

* 

An Illustrated Monthly 



ran 




Vol. LI! 
JULY TO DECEMBER 



Xoubon : 

GEORGE NEWNES, LTD., 8— n, SOUTHAMPTON STREET, AND EXETER 

STREET, STRAND 

1916 

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INDEX. 

A :ROSTICS 103, 21 2, 367, 432, 5*°> 732 

' AND THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM" .. From the French of Fridiric BouUU 341 

Illustrations by Alfred Leete. 

AUNT AND THE SLUGGARD, THE P. G. W ode house. 118 

Illustrations by Alfred Leete. 

BARNES MYSTERY, THE Richard Marsh. 407 

Illustrations by W. R. S. Stoct. 

BAT, THE ■ .. * Beatrice Hero m n- Maxwell 345 

Illustrations by Warwick Reynolds. 

BAUMER, THE HUMOROUS DRAWINGS OF LEWIS 353 

BIRD AN V D ANIMAL SUPERSTITIONS E.D.Cuming. 395 

Illustrations by J. A. Sbepherd. 

BLACK PRINCE, THE .. .. .. Fred M. White. 371 

Illustrations by A. Gilbert, R.I. 

BRiriSH CAMPAIGN IN FRANCE, THE A. Conan Doyle. - 3, 107, 314, 433, 5*9, 698 

CARROLL, AN UNPUBLISHED ^ETTER OF LEWIS Dymphna Ellis. 213 

"CARROTS" .'..... B. Paul Neuman. 38 

Illustrations by Alfred Leete. 

CASTAWAYS, THE W. W. Jacobs. 76,188,302,422,486,712 

Illustrations by Will Owen. 

CELIA AND THE GHOST Barry Pain. 658 

Illustrations by Treyer Evans. 

CHEMISTS SHOP, HUMOURS OF A By a Chemist. 343 

Illustrations by C E. Mom ford. 

CRIMSON CROSS, THE Mrs. C. A\ Williamson. 669 

Illustrations by Balliol Salmon. 

CURIOSITIES. 104,264,367,476,579,739 

Illustrations from Photographs. 

DEAD? IS IT POSSIBLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE Sir Oliver Lodge. 652 

Illustration from a Photograph. 

DOOMED BY THE KAISER TO RIDE TO DEATH. A Terrible Revelation. Hayden Church. 479 

Illustrations by Graham Simmons, and from Photographs. 

EGG-SHELL Roland Per twee. 20 

Illustrations by E. S. Hodgson. 

ESCAPED FROM THE HUNS, HOW I Sergeant Letor. 293 

Illustrations from Photographs and Drawings. 

EXPRESSION, HOW TO PLAY WITH Mark Hambourg. 626 

Illustrations from Facsimiles. 

41 FIND, MY LUCKIEST." Leading Managers tell how they discovered some now famous players. 605 
Illustrations from Photographs. 

FLYING MAN, THE SENSATIONS OF THE .. Claude Grahame-White and Han y liar ptr. 37« 

Illustrations by Charles Pears. 

FRENCH HUMORISTS, STORIES FROM THE :- 

44 Nothing to What I Once Saw ! " * Edouard Osnwnt. .466 

Gratitude George AurioL 545 

Testimonials Tristan Bernard. 546 

Barley-Sigar Max and Alex Fisher. 547 

Telling Freddy a Story .. t Alphonse Allais. 548 

Poor Fellow ! : * Alphonse Allais. 724 

Illustrations by W. Heath Robinson. 

GRAVE, THE PICTORIAL JESTS OF CHAS 471 

HAPPY SOLUTION, A. A Chess Story Raymund Allen. 595 

Illustrations by Stanley Davis. 

"HIS MASTER'S VOICE." How Nipper Became World-Famous Francis Barraud. 150 

Illustrations from Drawings. 

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INDEX. iii. 

FAG*, 

HOUSE AT BATH, THE Roland Ptrtwet. 78a 

Illustration* by B. S» Hodgson. 

HUMOUR, THE SENSE OF— WHERE IS IT KEENEST? 5*4 

The Opinions of some of our Leading Entertainers, * 

Illustrations by Thomas Henry. 

HUMOURS OF A CHEMIST'S SHOP . . By a Chemist. 343 

Illustrations by C E. Mont ford. 

HUMOURS OF A PARSON'S LIFE By our+Readers. 47 

HUMOURS OF THE POST OFFICE, SOME An ex-P.O. Servant. 166 

Illustrations by Helen McKie. 

IN THE HOUR OF FEAR .-. M.F.Hutchinson. 153 

Illustrations by Cyrus Cuneo. 

IN THREE CHAPTERS . . . . Arundel Begbie (" Andrul "). 563 

JIM BRENT'S V.C. . . - r " Sapper.* 1 138 

Illustrations by Cyrus Cuneo. 

KAISER TO RIDE TO DEATH, DOOMED BY THE. A Terrible Revelatidn. Hoyden Churth. 479 
Illustrations by Graham Simmons, and from Photographs. 

KITCHENER'S HAND, WHAT I READ IN LORD " Cheiro." 196 

Illustrations from ■ Photographs. 

LAND IRONCLADS, THE . . .. H.G. Wells. 501 

Illustrations by Claude A. Shepperson, R.L 

LEADBITTER'S TEST ■ . . . . Ellen Ada Smith. m 550 

Illustrations by E. S. Hodgson. 

LIGHTHOUSE, THE . . ; H.B. Marriott Watson. 521 

Illustrations by Warwick Reynolds. 

LIVING WITH YOUR AVIFE— OR YOUR HUSBAND .. Arnold Bennett. 461 

Illustrations by Alfred Lcetel 

MADDERSON'S MASCOT . . * Edgar Jepson. 583 

Illustrations by Fred Leist. 

MAN WHO LOST HIS LIKENESS, THE . . . Morley Roberts. 684 

MATCH, THE: TO-DAY AND YESTERDAY Stacy Aumonier. 30 

Illustrations by J. H. Thorpe. 

MULTUM IN PARVO:— 

The Picture That Appalled the Kaiser 726 

The Wkka : A Bird with a Fondness for Human Society . . . . James Drummond, F.LS., F.ZS. 727 
Finding the Right Man for the Job. Some "Tests " used by American Business Men .. ..728 

An Old Friend in a New Guise ' 729 

A Remarkable Plant Wizard James Anderson. 730 

A Novel Cannon S. Leonard Bastin. 730 

The Largest Beehives in the World * 731 

Can You Find the Hidden Message ? 732 

Illustrations from Photographs. 

MUSIC OF THE RESTAURANT, THE Hugh Arthur Scott. 132 

Illustrations by H. M. Bate man. 

NEW KEEPER'S DREAM, THE J. A. Shepherd. 86 

ORDINARY HAIR-PINS. THE E.C.Bentley. 450 

Illustrations by A. Gilbert, R.I. 

PAPERS OF THE FIRING-LINE 558 

Illustrations lrom Facsimiles. 

PARCEL, THE Mrs. Belbc Lowndes. 631 

Illustrations by Warwick Reynolds. 

PARSON STORIES By our Readers. 47 

Illustrations by C. E. Mont ford. 

PERPLEXITIES. A Pa^e of Puzzles Henry E.Dudeney. 75,196,339,470,578 

Illustrations from Diagrams. 

PIANO MYSTERY, THE. A Farce Herbert Vivian. 332 

Illustrations by H. M. Bateman. 

PIANO SING, HOW TO MAKE THE Mark Hambourg. 418 

Illustrations from a Photograph and Facsimiles, 

PLAY WITH EXPRESSION. HOW TO * „ . Mark Hambourg. 626 

Illustrations from Facsimiles. 

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iv. index: 

tAGK. 

POSERS AT A CHRISTMAS DINNER Henry £. Dudency. 695 

Illustrations from Drawings and Diagrams. 

POST OFFICE, SOME HUMOURS OF THE An ex-PD .Servant. 166 

Illustrations by Helen McECie. * 

44 PROBLEM PICTURES." Can You Supply the Missing Titles ? 721 

Illustrations from Drawings. 

PUT TO THE PROOF .' - Austin Philips. 384 

RAVEN-HILL, THE HUMOURS OF .. .." .. 679 

REMINISCENCES, MY :— 

Grattan, Harry .402 

Levey, Ethel . . 276 

Trevelyan,' Hilda , 182 

Vedrenne, J. E 61 

Ulustiations from Photographs. 

RErRIBUHON * "Sapper." 51 

Illustrations by Warwick Reynolds. 

RICH MAN, WHO IS THE? Arnold Bennett. 665 

Illustrations by Alfred Le#te. 

RITCHIE, THE WHIMSICALITIES OF ALICK P. F 220 

RUSIY POT AND THE WOODEN BALLS, THE. A Story for Children 573 

Illustrations by W. Heath Robinson. 

SAFE, THE H.B.Marriott Watson. 35S 

Illustrations by Stanley Davis. 

SAFETY-CURTAIN, THE .. .". , Ethel M. Dell. 225 

Illustrations by Graham Simmons. 

SCANDALOUS! Richard Marsh. 172 

Illustrations by Treyer Evans, 

SLEEPING OUT .. Edwin L.Sabin. 214 

SOMETHING LIKE PEOPLE! Alick P. F. Ritchie. 102 

SPORTING SPIRIT, THE • Uylton Cleaver. 641 

Illustrations by F. Gillett, R.I. 

SPUD TREVOR OF THE RED HUSSARS "Sapper." 267 

Illustrations by Stanley Davis. 

STRANGER THAN FICTION— I ; George R. Sims. 495 

Some Examples from My $crap-Books. 

Illustrations by Dudley Ten nan t. - 

SUPERSTITIONS, BIRD AND ANIMAL E.D.Cuming. 395 

Illustrations by J. A. Shepherd. 

TAKING THE DOG FOR A RUN J A. Shepherd. 590 

"TANKS," OUR ANCESTORS'. And Other Anticipations .[ C.Van Noorden. 656 j 

Illustrations from Old Prints. 

THREE FAITHFUL COMPANIONS, THE. A Fairy Legend . . . .Retold by A. H. Greenwood. 733 

Illustrations by W. Heath Robinson. 
TWO GOATS, A GARDEN, AND ! Elizabeth Allison. 311 

Illustrations by W, Heath Bobinson. 

UNEASY MONEY.— Chapters I.-IV P.G.Wodehouse. 612 

Illustrations by Clarence F. Underwood, 

WHAT HAPPENED IN BERLIN Mrs. Belloc Lowndes. 201 

Illustrations by A, Gilbert. 

WHITE MOGUL, THE Percy Adams Hutchison. 67 

Illustrations by Thomas Soinerfield. 



GEORGE NEWNRS, LIMITED, SOUTHAMPTON STREET, AND EXRTFR STREET, STRAND, LONDON, ENGLAHA. 

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Inother fine " SAPPER" story this month 




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monthly *Y OBOROE NEWNES, Ltd., 8 to n, Southampton Street, Strand, London England. 




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■_■ I I '-| 1 1 I u I I I ■_' 



UfflY ERS I TY OF M I CH I GAN 



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Ike 

BRITISH CAMPAIGN 
IN FRANCE. 



The Facts 
at Last ! 

The Inside Story 
of the War. 



'A. ' 

CONAN 

DOYLE. 



CHAPTER III. 

The BATTLE OF THE MARNE. 

The General Situation — "Die Grosse Zeit" — The Turn 
of the Tide — The Battle of the Ourcq — The British 
Advance — Cavalry Fighting — Forcing the Rivers — The 
ist Lincolns and the Guns — Sixth Brigade's Action at 
Hautvesnes— ^-Ninth Brigade's Capture of Germans at 
Vinly — The Problem of the Aisne — Why the Marne 
is One of the Great Battles of All Time. 




Fi 
It 

ul 
ar 



to 



THE GENERAL SITUATION. 

HERE are several problems 
connected with the strategical 
opening of the great war which 
will furnish food for debate 
among military critics for 
many years to come. One of 
these already alluded to, is the 
ich offensive taken in Alsace and Lorraine, 
nded in check in both cases, and yet its 
nate effects in confusing the German plans 
deflecting German armies which might 
t been better used elsewhere may be held 
"stify the French in their strategy. 

I Hi— t Copyright, 1916, by 



Another remarkable and questionable move 
now obtrudes itself, this time upon the part 
of the Germans. Very shortly after the out- 
break of war, the Russians had pushed their 
covering armies over the frontier of East 
Prussia, and had defeated a German force at 
Gumbinnen, with a loss of prisoners and guns. 
A few days later the left wing of the wide- 
spread, and as yet only partially mobilized, 
Russian army struck heavily at the Austrians 
in the south near Lemberg, where after a 
week of fighting they gained a great victory, 
with prisoners, which amounted to over 
seventy thousand men and a large booty of 

A. Conan Doyle. 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



guns and supplies. Before this blow had 
befallen their cause, and influenced only by 
the fact that the Russian right wing was 
encroaching upon the sacred soil of the 
Fatherland, a considerable force was detached 
from the invading armies in France and 
dispatched to the Eastern front. These men 
were largely drawn from the Third (Saxon) 
Army of Von Haussen. Such a withdrawal 
such a time could only mean that the German 
general staff considered that the situation in 
France was assured, and that they had still 
sufficient means to carry on a victorious 
invasion. Events were to show that they were 
utterly mistaken in their calculation. It is 
true that, aided by these reinforcements, 
Von Hindenburg succeeded on August 31st in 
inflicting a severe defeat upon the Russians 
at the battle of Tannenberg, but subsequent 
events proved that such a victory could have 
no decisive result, while the weakening of the 
armies in France may have had a permanent 
effect upon the whole course of the war. At 
the very moment that the Germans were 
withdrawing troops from their Western front 
the British and French were doing all they 
could to thicken their own line of resistance, 
especially by the transference of armies from 
Alsace and the south. Thus the net result 
was that, whereas the Germans had up to 
August 25th a very marked superiority in 
numbers, by the beginning of September the 
forces were more equal. From that moment 
the chance of their taking Paris became 
steadily more and more remote. 

The first month of the war represented 
a very remarkable military achievement upon 
the part of Germany. In her high state of 
preparation as compared with the Allies, it 
was to be expected that the beginning of 
hostilities would be all in her favour, but the 
reality exceeded what could have been fore- 
seen. Her great armies were ready to the last 
button. Up to the eve of war the soldiers 
did not themselves know what their field 
uniform was like. At the last moment two 
millions of men filed into the depots and 
emerged in half an hour clad in grey, with new 
boots, equipment, and every possible need 
for the campaign. On her artillery surprises 
she set special store, and they were upon a vast 
scale. The machine-gun had been developed 
to an extent unknown by other armies, and 
of these deadly little weapons it is said that 
no fewer than fifty thousand were available. 
From the tiny quick-firer, carried easily by 
two men upon a stretcher, to the vast cannon 
with a diameter of sixteen and a half ipches at 
the mouth, taking three railway trucks for its 



majestic portage, every possible variety of 
man-killing engine was ready in vast profusion. 
So, too, was the flying service, from the little 
Taubeto the huge six-hundred-foot Zeppelin. 
From these latter devices great results were 
expected which were not destined to 
materialize, for, apart from reconnaissances, 
they proved themselves to be machines 
rather for the murder of non-combatants 
than for honest warfare. 

-DIE GROSSE ZErr." 

Making every allowance for the huge advan- 
tage which the nation that knows war is 
coming must always enjoy over those which 
merely fear that it may come, it would be 
foolish to deny the vast military achievement 
of Germany in the month of August. It reflects 
great credit upon the bravery and energy of 
her troops, as well as upon the foresight of her 
organizers and the capacity of her leaders. 
Though we are her enemies, our admiration 
would have been whole-hearted were it not 
for the brutalities which marked her advance 
both in Poland, in Belgium, and in France. 
Consider that wondeiful panorama of victory 
which was known all over the Fatherland as 
" Die grosse Zeit" On August 10th fell the 
great fortress of Liege, on the 24th the great 
fortress of Namur, early in September that 
of Maubeuge, while the smaller strongholds 
went down as if they were open cities. On 
August 10th was a considerable victory at 
Mulhausen, on the 20th the Belgians were 
defeated at Tirlemont, on the same day 
Brussels was occupied. On the 22nd the French 
central army of ten corps was defeated in 
a great battle near Charleroi, losing, according 
to the Germans, some twenty thousand 
prisoners and two hundred guns. On the 
left flank the Crown Prince's army won the 
battle of Longwy, taking ten thousand 
prisoners and many more guns. On August 
23rd the Duke of Wiirtemberg won a battle 
in the Ardennes. Upon the same date the 
British were driven from their position at 
Mons. Upon the 26th they were defeated at 
Le Cateau. Most of Belgium and the North 
of France were overrun. Scattered parties of 
Uhlans made their way to the shores of the 
Atlantic. The British bases were in such 
danger that they had to be moved. 

Finally, upon the last day of the month, 'a 
great battle took place at Tannenberg in 
East Prussia, in which the Russian invading 
army was almost completely destroyed. I 
do not know where in history such a succession 
of victories is to be found, and our horror of 
the atrocities of Lo::vain, Aerschot, Dinard, 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



THE BRITISH CAMPAIGN IN FRANCE. 



and so many other places must not blind us 
to the superb military achievement. 

It was^ not, it is true, an unbroken series of 
successes even in the West. The French in 
the early days won a victory at Dornach in 
Alsace, and another smaller one at Dinant 
in the Ardennes. They held the enemy in 
the neighbourhood of Nancy, fought a fairly 
equal battle at St. Quentin in taking the 
pressure off the British at the end of August, 
and had a success at Guise. These, however, 
were small matters as compared with the 
sweeping tide . of German victory. But 
gradually the impetus of the rush was being 
stayed. Neither the French nor the British 
lines were broken. They grew stronger from 
compression, whilst the invaders grew weaker 
from diffusion. Even as they hoped to reach 
the climax of their success, and the huge 
winning-post of the Eiffel Tower loomed up 
before their racing armies, the dramatic 
moment arrived, and the dauntless, high- 
hearted Allies had the reward of their 
constant, much-enduring valour. 

THE TURN OF THD TIDE. 

September 6th vrJtSra. day of great elation 
in the armies of the Allies, for it marked the 
end of the retreat and the beginning of their 
victorious return. It is clear that they 
could in no case have gone farther south 
without exposing Paris to the danger of an 
attack. The French Government had already 
been transferred to Bordeaux and the city 
put into a state which promised a long and 
stubborn defence, but after the surprising 
rapidity of the«capture of Namur there was 
a general distrust of fortresses, and it was 
evident that if only one or two of the outer 
ring of forts should be overwhelmed by the 
German fire, the enemy would be in a position 
to do terrible damage to the city, even if 
they failed to occupy it. The constant 
dropping of bombs from German aeroplanes, 
one of which had already injured the 
Cathedral of Notre Dame, gave a sinister 
forecast of the respect which the enemy was 
likely to show to the monuments of antiquity. 

Fortunately, the problem of investing 
Paris while the main French armies remained 
unl :aten in the field proved to be an 
insi arable one. The first German task, in 
ace rdance with the prophet Clausewitz, was 
to -eak the French resistance. Everything 
wot i follow after that, and nothing could 
pre ede it. Von Kluck, with his army, com- 
pri< ng originally something over two hundred 
tho sand men, had lost considerably in their 
con " *- with the British, and were much 

Digitized by GoOQle 



exhausted by rapid marching, but they were 
still in good heart, as the roads over which 
they passed seemed to offer ample evidence 
that their enemy was in full flight before 
them. Knowing that they had hit the 
British hard, they hoped that, for a time at 
least, they might disregard them, and, 
accordingly, they ventured to close in, by a 
flank march, on to the other German armies 
to the east of them, in order to combine 
against the main line of French resistance 
and to make up the gaps of those corps which 
had been ordered to East Prussia. But the 
bulldog, though weary and somewhat 
wounded, was still watching with bloodshot 
eyes. It now sprang suddenly upon the 
exposed flank of its enemy and got a grip 
which held firm for many a day to come. 

Without going into complicated details of 
French strategy, which would be outside the 
scope of this work, it may be generally stated 
that the whole French line, "which had 
stretched on August 22nd from Namur along 
the line of the Sambre to Charleroi and had 
retired with considerable loss before the 
German advance, was now extended in seven 
separate armies from Verdun to the west of 
Paris. 

General Joffre had assembled Maunoury^s 
Sixth Army, which consisted of the seventh 
regular corps, one reserve corps, and three 
territorial divisions, with Sordet's cavalry, 
in the neighbourhood of Amiens, and at 
the end of the month they lay with their 
right upon Roye. Thus, when Von Kluck 
swerved to his left, this army was on the 
flank of the whole great German line which 
extended to Verdun. Next to this Sixth 
Army and more to the south-east were the 
British, now no longer en Vair> but with 
solid French comrades upon either side of 
them. Next to the British, counting from 
the left or westward end of the defensive 
line, was the Fifth French Army under 
General d'Esperey, of four corps, with 
Conneau's cavalry forming the link between. 
These three great bodies, the French Sixth, 
the British, and the French Fifth, were in 
touch during the subsequent operations, and 
moved forward in close co-operation upon 
September 6th. Their operations were 
directed against the First (Von Kluck's) and 
Second (Von Billow's) armies. On the right 
of the Fifth French Army came another 
extra, produced suddenly by the prolific 
Joffre and thrust into the centre of the line. 
This was General Foch's Seventh, three 
corps strong, which joined to the eastward 
General Langle de Gary's Fourth Army. 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE* 




TMGfrtFut*" L Fft Kfttir sTmriaKtoKt c 



MAP ILLUSTRATING THE ADVANCE OF THE BRITISH FROM THE MORIN TO 

THE AISNE. 



Opposed to them were the remains of Von 
Ilaussens Third Saxon Army and the Prince 
of Wiirtembenj's Fourth Army, Eastward 
of this, on the farther side of the great 
plain of Chalons a place of evil omen for 
the Huns, were the Third (Serrail), Second 
(Castelnau), and First (Dubail) French Armies, 
which faced the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh 
German, commanded respectively by the 
Crown Prince of Prussia, the Crown Prince 
of Bavaria, and General von Heeringem 
Such were the mighty lines which were 
destined to swing and sway fur an eventful 
week in the strain of a close-locked fight. 

THE BATTLE OF THE OURCQ. 

The eastern portion of this great battle is 

Digitized by G< 



outside the scope of this amount, but it may 
briefly be stated that after murderous fighting 
neither the French nor the German lines made 
any marked advance in the extreme east, but 
that the Crown Prince's army was driven back 
by Duhail, Serrail y and Castelnau from all 
its advanced positions, and hold off from 
Nancy and Verdun, which were his objectives. 
It was at the western end of the Allied line 
that the strategical position was most 
advantageous and the result most marked. 
In all oilier parts of that huge line the 
parallel battle prevailed, Only in the wewt 
were the Germans outflanked, and the shock 
of the impact of the Sixth French Army passed 
down from Meaux to Verdun as the blow 
of the engine's buffer sends the successive 



■_■ r i y i r i d i 



UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE BRITISH CAMPAIGN IN FRANCE. 



crashes along a line of trucks. This French 
army was, as already stated, upon the extreme 
outside right of Von Kluck's army, divided 
from it only by the River Ourcq. This was the 
deciding factor in the subsequent operations. 

By midday upon September 6th, according 
to the despatch of Sir John French, the Ger- 
mans had realized their dangerous position , 
The British Army, consisting of five divisions 
and 'five cavalry brigades, with its depleted 
ranks filled up with reinforcements and some 
of its lost guns replaced, was advancing from 
the south through the forest of Cr£cy, men who 
had limped south with bleeding feet at two 
miles an hour changing their gait to four or 
five now that they were bound northward. 
Von Kluck had placed nothing more sub- 
stantial than a cavalry screen of two divisions 
'm front of them, while he had detached a strong . 
force of infantry and artillery to fight a rear- 
guard action against the Sixth French Army 
and prevent it from crossing the Ourcq. 

The desperate struggle of September 6th, 
7th, 8th, and 9th between Von Kluck and 
ifaunoury may be looked upon as the turning- 
point of the war. Von Klack had originally 
tfaced Maunoury with his Fourth Reserve 
Corps on the defensive. Recognizing how 
critical it was that fttaunoury should be 
crushed, he passed back two more army corps 
—the Seventh and Second — across the Ourcq, 
and fell upon the French with such violence 
that for two days it was impossible to say 
which side would win. Maunoury and his 
men fought magnificently, and the Germans 
showed equal valour. At one time the situa- 
tion seemed desperate, but twenty thousand 
men, odds and ends of every kind — Repub- 
lican Guards, gendarmes, and others — were 
rushed out from Paris in a five-mile line 
of automobiles, and the action was restored. 
Only on the looming of the 10th did the 
Germans withdraw in despair, held in their 
front by the brave Maunoury, and in danger 
of being cut off by the British to the east of 
them. 

THE BRITISH ADVANCE 

The advance of the British upon Sep- 
tember 6th was made in unison with that of 
the Fifth French Army (D'Esperey's) upon 
tin "ight, and was much facilitated by the 
£u that Von Kluck had to detach the strong 
foi e already mentioned to deal with Mau- 
no ry upon the left. The British advanced 
vri t the Fourth Division upon the left, the 
Se md Corps in the centre and the First 
Co >s upon the right. The high banks of the 
Gr id Morin were occupied without serious 
fig ing, and the whole line pushed forward 

Digitized by OOOgle 



for a considerable distance, halting on the 
Coulommiers-Maisoncelles front. The brunt 
of the fighting during the day was borne by 
the French on either wing, the Third and 
Fourth Germap Corps being thrown back by 
D'Esperey's men, ^mong whom the Senegal 
regiments particularly distinguished them- 
selves. The fighting in this section of the 
field continued far into the night. 

On September 7th the British and the 
Fifth French were still moving northwards, 
while the Sixth French were continuing their 
bitter struggle upon the Ourcq. The British 
infantry losses were not heavy, though a 
hidden battery cost the South Lancashires of 
the Seventh Brigade forty-one casualties. Most 
of the fighting depended upon the constant 
touch between the British cavalry and the 
German. It was again the French armies upon 
each flank who did the hard work during this 
eventful day, the first of the German retreat. 
The Sixth Army were all day at close grips 
with Von Kluck, while the Fifth drove the 
enemy back to the line of the Petit Morin 
River, carrying Vieux-Maisons at the point 
of the bayonet. Foch's army, still farther 
to the east, was holding its own in a desperate 
defensive battle. 

CAVALRY FIGHTING. 

Of the cavalry skirmishes upon this day 
one deserves some special record. The Second ■ 
Cavalry Brigade (De Lisle) was acting at the 
time as flank guard with the 9th Lancers in 
front. Coming into contact with some German 
dragoons near the village of Moncel, there 
followed a face-to-face charge between two 
squadrons, each riding through the other. 
The American, Coleman, who saw the 
encounter, reckons the odds in numbers to 
have been two to one against the Lancers. 
The British Colonel Campbell was wounded, 
and the adjutant, Captain Reynolds, trans- 
fixed through the shoulder by a lance. While 
drawing the weapon out Captain Allfrey was 
killed. The other casualties were slight, and 
those of the German dragoons were consider- 
ably greater. This example of shock tactics 
was almost instantly followed by an exhibition 
of those mounted rifleman tactics whichJiave 
been cultivated of late years. A squadron of 
the 18th Hussars, having dismounted, was 
immediately charged by a German squadron 
in close order. About seventy Germans 
charged, and thirty-two were picked up in 
front of the dismounted Hussars, while the 
few who passed through the firing line were 
destroyed by the horse-holders. It may fairly 
be argued that had the two squadrons met 

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THE STRAND. MAGAZINE. 



with shock tactics, no such crushing" effect 
could possibly have been attained. It is 
interesting that in one morning two incidents 
should have occurred which bore so directly 
upon the perennial dispute between the 
partisans of the arme blanche and those of 
the rifle. 

On the 8th the orders were to advance 
towards Ch&teau-Thierry and to endeavour 
to reach the Marne. The Germans were 
retreating fast, but rather on account of 
their generally faulty strategical position 
than from tafctical compulsion, and they 
covered themselves with continual rearguard 
actions, especially along the line of the 
Petit Morin. It is one of the noticeable 
results, however, of the use of aircraft that 
the bluff of a rearguard has disappeared 
and that it is no longer possible to make 
such a retreat as Massena from Torres 
Vedras, where the pursuer never knew if 
he were striking at a substance or a shadow. 
Gough's Second Cavalry Division, which 
consisted of the Third and Fifth Brigades, 
swept along and the infantry followed hard 
at the heels of the horses, Doran's Eighth 
Brigade suffering the loss of about a hundred 
men when held up at the crossing of the 
Petit Morin River near Orly, which they 
traversed eventually under an effective 
covering fire from J Battery, R.H.A. 

The First Army Corps upon this day 
forced the Petit Morin at two places, both 
near La Tretoire, north of Rebaix. The 
First Division secured the passage at Sablon- 
ni£res, where the Black Watch seized the 
heights, causing the German rearguard some 
losses and taking sixty prisoners. The 
Second Division met with considerable 
resistance, but the 2nd Worcesters got over at 
Le Gravier and the 2nd Grenadier Guards at 
La Forge. The enemy was then driven from 
the river bank into the woods, where they 
were practically surrounded and had eventu- 
ally to surrender. Eight machine-guns and 
three hundred and fifty prisoners, many of 
them from the Guards' Jaeger Battalion, were 
captured. Six of these machine-guns fell 
to the Irish Guards. 

The Second Army Corps passed the Petit 
Morin near St. Cyr and St. Ouen, the Thir- 
teenth Brigade attacking the former and the 
Fourteenth the latter, both being villages on 
the farther side of the river. Such fighting 
as there was in this quarter came largely to 
the 1st Surrey and 2nd Cornwalls, of Rolt's 
Brigade, but the resistance was not great, 
and was broken by the artillery fire. To the 
soldiers engaged the whole action was more 

Digitized by G* 



like a route march with occasional deploy- A 
ments than a battle. 

On the 9th the Army was up to the Marne 
and was faced with the problem of crossing 
it. The operations extending over many 
miles were unimportant in detail, though of 
some consequence in the mass. The real hard 
fighting was falling upon the Sixth French 
Army north of Ligny, which was still in 
desperate conflict with the German right * and 
upon Foch's army, which was fighting mag- 
nificently at F&re-Champenoise. The advance 
of the British, together with their own valour, 
caused the Germans to retire and cleared the 
passage over the Ourcq for our Allies. The 
chief losses during the day upon the British 
side fell upon the Guards' Brigade, the 1st 
Lincolns, and the 2nd Cornwalls, most of 
which were inflicted by invisible quick- 
firing batteries shrouded by the woods 
which flank the river. The latter regiment 
lost Colonel Turner, Major Cornish-Bowden, 
and a number of men in a brilliant piece 
of woodland fighting, where they drove 
in a strong German rearguard. The 1st 
Surrey, who were very forward in the move- 
ment, were also hard hit, having six officers' 
and about one hundred and twenty men out 
of action. 

THE 1st LINCOLNS AND THE GUNS. 

The British infantry was able on this 
day to show that woods may serve for other 
purposes besides hiding batteries. The 1st 
Lincolns, being held up by a rapid and 
accurate fire from invisible guns, dispatched 
two companies, C and D, to make in single 
file a ditour under the shelter of the trees. 
Coming behind the battery, which appears 
to have had no immediate support, they 
poured in a rapid fire at two hundred? and 
fifty yards, which laid every man ot the 
German gunners upon the ground. The 
whole battery was captured. The casualties 
of the Lincolns in this dashing exploit, which 
included Captains Hoskyns and Ellison, 
with Lieutenant Thrust on, were unavoidably 
caused by British shrapnel, our gunners 
knowing nothing of the movement. 

On this date (September 9th) both the 
First and the Second Army Corps were acr )ss 
the Marne, and advanced some miles to he 
north of it, killing, wounding, or captui ng 
many hundreds of the enemy. The SL :th 
French Army was, as stated, fighting h trd 
upon the Ourcq, but the Fifth had woi a 
brilliant success near Montmirail and driven 
the enemy completely over the river, 

Pultency's Third Corps, still a division 



I u I I I ■_' I I 



UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




BRITISH INFANTRY DISLODGING THE GERMANS DURING THE FORCING OF THE 
RIVER MORIN-A TYPICAL INCIDENT DURING THE GERMAN RETREAT FROM PARIS. 



I of 

tember 

rniy 

<l up a mi in her 
all. I< 

iihin 



a I j "laying 

the coi. h eagerly push- 

ing on with ness of 

le the 

ttered in among the 

from 

id rain, with i 



Origin. 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



10 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



sodden roads, but all weather is fine weather 
to the army that is gaining ground. An 
impression of complete German demoraliza- 
tion became more widespread as transport, 
shells, and even guns were found littering 
the high roads, and yet there was really 
even less cause for it than when the same 
delusion was held by the Germans. The 
enemy w r ere actually making a hurried but 
orderly retreat, and these signs of disaster 
were only the evidence of a broken rear- 
guard resistance. German armies do not 
readily dissolve. There is no more cohesive 
force in the world. But they were un- 
doubtedly hard pressed. 

SIXTH BRIGADE'S ACTION AT HAUT- 
VESNES. 

About eight o'clock upon the morning of 
the ioth the Sixth Brigade (Davies') observed 
a column of the enemy's infantry on a parallel 
road near the village of Hautvesnes. Artillery 
fire was at once opened upon them, and a 
vigorous infantry attack, the ist Rifles 
advancing direct with the ist Berkshires 
on their right, while the ist King's Liverpool 
worked round each flank in . Boer fashion. 
The 2nd Staffords were in support. The 
Germans had taken refuge in a sunken road, 
but they were mercilessly lashed by shrapnel, 
and four hundred of them ran forward with 
their hands up. The sunken road was filled 
with their dead and wounded. Some hun- 
dreds streamed away across country, but 
these w r ere mostly gathered up by the Third 
Division on the left. 

In this brisk little action the 50th R.F.A., 
and later the whole of the 34th Brigade 
R.F.A., put in some fine work, the shrapnel- 
fire being most deadly and accurate. The 
British had pushed their guns freely forward 
with their cavalry and did much execution 
with them, though they had the misfortune 
on this same date, the ioth, to lose, by the 
answering shell-fire of the enemy, General 
Findlay, artillery commander of tne First 
Division. In this second action, in which 
the German rearguard, infantry as well as 
artillery, was engaged, the 2nd Sussex Regi- 
ment, which was leading the First Division, 
sustained considerable losses near Cour- 
champs or Priez, as did the ist Northamptons 
and the ist North Lancashires. Some three 
hundred of Bulfin's Second Brigade were hit 
altogether, among whom was Colonel Knight, 
of the North Lancashires. The enemy came 
under heavy fire, both from the infantry and 
from the guns, so that their losses were con- 
siderable, and several hundred of them were 



by L^OOgle 



captured. The country was very hilly, and 
the roads so bad that in the exhausted state 
of m*n and horses the pursuit could not be 
sufficiently pressed. 

NINTH BRIGADE'S CAPTURE OF 
GERMANS AT VINLY. 

On this same date the Ninth Brigade 
captured six hundred German infantry, the 
survivors of a battalion, at the village of 
Vinly. This seems to have been an incident 
of the same character as the loss of the 
Cheshires or of the Munsters in the British 
retreat, where a body of troops fighting a 
covering action was left too long, or failed to 
receive the orders for its withdrawal. The 
defence was by no means a desperate one, and 
few of the attacking infantry were killed or 
wounded. On this date the Fifth and Sixth 
French Armies were hardly engaged at all, 
and the whole Allied For<jp, including General 
Foch's Seventh French Army on the right of 
the Fifth, were all sweeping along together 
in a single rolling steel-crested wave, com- 
posed of at least twelve army corps, whilst 
nine German corps (five of Von Kluck and 
four of Billow) retired swiftly before them, 
hurrying towards the chance of reforming 
and refitting which the Aisne position would 
afford them. 

On September nth the British were still 
advancing upon a somewhat narrowed front. 
There was no opposition, and again the day 
bore a considerable crop of prisoners and 
other trophies. The weather had become so 
foggy that the aircraft were useless, and it is 
only when these wonderful scouters are pre- 
cluded from rising that a general realizes how 
indispensable they have become to him. As 
a wit expressed it, they have turned war from 
a game of cards into a game of chess. It 
was still very wet, and the Army was exposed 
to considerable privation, most of the officers 
and men having neither change of clothing, 
overcoats, nor waterproof sheets, while the 
blowing up of bridges on the lines of com- 
munication had made it impossible to supply 
the wants. The undefeatable commissariat, 
however, was still working well, which means 
that the Army was doing the same. Ori the 
1 2th the pursuit was continued as far as 
the River Aisne. Allenby's cavalry occupied 
Braine in the early morning, the Queen's 
Bays being particularly active, but there w r as 
so much resistance that the Third Division 
was needed to make the ground good. 
Gough's Cavalry Division also ran into the 
enemy near Chassemy, killing or capturing 
several hundred of the German infantry. In 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE BRITISH CAMPAIGN IN FRANCE. 



ii 




'COMING BEHIND THE BATTERY THE 1st LINCOLNS POURED IN A RAPID FIRE AT 
TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY YARDS, WHICH LAID EVERY MAN OF THE GERMAN 
GUNNERS UPON THE GROUND. THE WHOLE BATTERY WAS CAPTURED." 



Captain Stewart, win 

as an alleged spy has been men- 

with a soldier's death. On this 

French Army was fighting a 

able action upon the British left in 

sons , the Germans making 

rder to give time for their impedi- 



menta to get over the river. In this t! 
succeeded; so that when the Allied Forces 
i" hed the Aisne^ which is an unfordable 
stream some sixty yards from hank to bank, 
the retiring army had got across it, had de- 
stroyed most of the bridges, and showed every 
sign of being prtp*r?d to ^pute the crossii 



12 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



THE PROBLEM OF THE AISNE. 

Missy Bridge, facing the Fifth Division, 
appeared at first to be intact, but a daring 
reconnaissance by Lieutenant Pennecuick, 
of the Engineers, showed that it was really 
badly damaged. Conde Bridge was intact, 
but was so covered by a high horse-shoe 
formation of hills upon the farther side that 
it could not be used, and remained throughout 
under control of the enemy. Bourg Bridge, 
however, in front of the First Army Corps, 
had for some unexplained reason been left 
undamaged, and this was seized late in the 
evening — an evening of tempestuous rain and 
wind — by De Lisle's cavalry, followed rapidly 
by Bulfin's Second Brigade. It was on the 
face of it a somewhat desperate enterprise 
which lay immediately in front of the British 
general. If the enemy were still retreating 
he could not afford to slacken his pursuit, 
while, on the other hand, if the enemy were 
merely making a feint of resistance, then, 
at all hazards, . the stream must be forced 
and the rearguard driven in. The German 
iufantry could be seen streaming up the roads 
on the farther bank of the river, but there 
were no signs of what their next disposition 
might be. Air reconnaissance was still pre- 
cluded, and it was impossible to say for 
certain which alternative might prove to 
be correct, but Sir John French's cavalry 
training must incline him always to the braver 
course. The officer who rode through the 
Boers to Kimberley and threw himself with 
his weary men across the path of the for- 
midable Kronje was not likely to stand 
hesitating upon the banks of the Aisne. His 
personal opinion was that the enemy meant 
to stand and fight, but none the less the order 
was given to cross. 

September 13th was spent in arranging 
this dashing and dangerous movement. The 
British got across eventually in several places 
and by various devices. Bulfin's men, 
followed by the rest of the First Division 
of Haig's Army Corps, passed the canal 
bridge of Bourg with no loss or difficulty. 
The Eleventh Brigade of Pulteney's Third 
Corps got some men across by a ferry 
in the neighbourhood of Venizel. They 
were followed by the Twelfth Brigade, 
who established themselves near Bucy. 
The Thirteenth Brigade was held up at 
Missy, but the Fourteenth got across and 
lined up with the men of the Third Corps 
in the neighbourhood of Ste. Marguerite, 
meeting with a considerable resistance from 
the Germans. Later, Count Gleichen's Fif- 
teenth Brigade also got across. On the right 

Digitized by G* 



Hamilton got over with two brigades of the 
Third Division, the Third Brigade crossing 
on a single plank at Vailly and the Ninth 
using the railway bridge, while the whole of 
Haig's First Corps had before evening got a 
footing upon the farther bank. So eager 
was the advance and so inadequate the 
means that Haking's Fifth Brigade of 
Infantry, led by the Connaught Rangers, 
was obliged to get over the broad and dan- 
gerous river walking in single file along the 
sloping girder of a ruined bridge, under a 
heavy, though distant, shell-fire. The night 
of September 13th saw the main body of the 
Army across the river, already conscious of a 
strong rearguard action, but not yet aware 
that the whole German army had halted and 
was turning at bay. On the right De Lisle's 
cavalrymen had pushed up the slope from 
Bourg Bridge and reached as far as Vendresse, 
where they were pulled up by the German 
lines. 

It has been mentioned above that the 
Eleventh and Twelfth Brigades of the 
Fourth Division had passed the river at 
Venizel. These troops were across in the 
early afternoon, and they at once advanced, 
and proved that in that portion of the 
field the enemy were undoubtedly stand- 
ing fast. The Eleventh Brigade, which was 
more to the north, had only a constant 
shell-fall to endure, but the Twelfth, pushing 
forward through Bucy-le-long, found itself 
in front of a line of woods from which there 
swept a heavy machine-gun and rifle-fire. The 
.advance was headed by the 2nd Lancashire 
Fusiliers supported by the 2nd Inniskilling 
Fusiliers. It was across open ground and 
under heavy fire, but it was admirably 
carried out. In places where the machine- 
guns had got the exact range the stricken 
Fusiliers lay dead or wounded with accurate 
intervals, like a firing-line on a field day. 
The losses were heavy, especially in the 
Lancashire Fusiliers. Colonel Griffin was 
wounded, and five of his officers with two 
hundred and fifty men were among the 
casualties. It should be recorded that fresh 
supplies of ammunition were brought up at 
personal risk by Colonel Seely, late Minister 
of War, in his motor-car. The contest 
continued until dusk, when the troops waited 
for the battle of next day under such cover 
as they ejuld find. 

The crossing of the stream may be said, 
upon the one side, to mark the end of the 
battle and pursuit of the Marne, while, on 
the other, it commenced that interminable 
Battle 9fi r thf n Aisne which was destined to 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



I 



THE BRITISH CAMPAIGN IX FRANCE. 



*3 




MUTISH TROOPS, UNDER SHELL-FIRE^ CROSSING THE AISNE IN SINGLE FILE 
BY MEANS OF THE GIRDER OF A RUINED BRIDGE. 



fu 

uf 

k 



Eloch's prophecies and to set the type 

11 peat modern engagements- The 

nged struggles of the Manchurian War 

prepared men's minds for such a develop- 

j but only here did it first assume its 

proportions and warn us that the battle 

'lit ure was to be the iie^e uf the past. 



by Google 



Men remembered with a smile Bernhardt 
confident assertion that a German battle 
wuuM hi- dei ided in unu day, and thai his 
countrymen would never be constrained to 
fight in defensive trenches. 

The moral effect of the Battle of the Marne 
was greater than its material gains. The 

Original from 
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THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



latter, so far as the British were concerned, 
did not exceed five thousand prisoners, 
twenty guns, and a quantity of transport. 
The total losses, however, were very heavy. 
The Germans had perfected a method of 
burning their dead with the aid of petrol. 
These numerous holocausts over the country- 
side were found afterwards by the peasants 
to have left mounds of charred animal 
matter which were scattered by their indus- 
trious hands on the fields which they might 
help to fertilize. The heat of cremation had 
dissolved the bones, but the teeth in most 
cases remained intact, so that over an area 
of France it was no uncommon thing to see 
them gleaming in the clods on either side of 
the ne,w-cut furrow. Had the ring of high- 
born German criminals who planned the war 
seen in some apocalyptic vision the detailed 
results of their own villainy, it is hard to 
doubt that even their hearts and consciences 
would have shrunk from the deed. 

Apart from the losses the mere fact that 
a great German army had been hustled across 
thirty miles of country, had been driven 
from river to river, and had finally to take 
refuge in trenches in order to hold their 
ground, was a great encouragement to the 
Allies. From that time they felt assured 
that with anything like equal numbers they 
had an ascendancy over their opponents. 
Save in the matter of heavy guns and 
machine-guns, there was not a single arm 
in which they did not feel that they were 
the equals or the superiors. Nor could they 
forget that this foe, whom they were driving 
in the open and holding in the trenches, was 
one who had rushed into the war with men 
and material all carefully prepared for this 
day of battle, while their own strength lay 
in the future. If the present was bright, it 



would surely be incomparably brighter when 
the reserves of France and the vast resources 
of the British Empire were finally brought into 
line. There had never from the beginning 
been a doubt of final victory, but from this 
time on it became less an opinion and more 
a demonstrable and mathematical certainty. 

WHY THE MARNE IS ONE OP THE 
GREAT BATTLES OF ALL TIME. 

The battle must also be regarded as a 
fixed point in military history, since it was 
the first time since the days of the great 
Napoleon that a Prussian army had been 
turned and driven. In three successive 
wars — against the Danes, the Austrians, 
and the French — they had lived always in 
the warm sunshine of success. Now, at last, 
came the first chill of disaster. Partly' 
from their excellent military qualities, but 
even more on account of their elaborate and . 
methodical preparations, joined with a want 
of scruple which allowed them to force a war 
at the moment when they could take their 
adversary at a disadvantage, they had 
established a legend of invincibility. This 
they left behind them with their cannon and 
their prisoners between the Marne and the 
Aisne. It had been feared that free men, 
trained in liberal and humane methods, could 
never equal in military efficiency those who 
had passed through the savage discipline 
which is the heritage of the methods that 
first made Prussia great at the expense of 
her neighbours. This shadow was hence- 
forth for ever lifted from men's minds, and 
it was shown that the kindly comradeship 
which exists in the Western armies between 
officers and men was not incompatible with 
the finest fighting qualities of which any 
soldiers are capable. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE BATTLE OF THE AISNE. 

The Hazardous Crossing of the Aisne — Wonderful 
Work of the Sappers— The Fight for the Sugar Factory — 
General Advance of the Army — The Fourth (Guards) 
Brigade's Difficult Task — Cavalry as a Mobile Reserve. 



THE HAZARDOUS CROSSING OF THE 
AISNE. 

The stretch of river which confronted the 
British Army when they set about the 

Digitized by Vj* 



hazardous crossing of the Aisne was about 
fifteen miles in length. It lay as nearly as 
possible east and west, so that the advance 
was from south to north. As the British 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE BRITISH CAMPAIGN IN FRANCE. 



*5 



faced the river the First Army Corps was on 
the right of their line, together with half the 
cavalry. In the centre was the Second Corps, 
on the left the Third Corps, which was still 
without one of its divisions (the Sixth), but 
retained, on the other hand, the Nineteenth 
Brigade, which did not belong to it. Each 
of these British corps covered a front of, 
roughly, five miles. Across the broad and 
swift river a considerable German army with 
a powerful artillery were waiting to dispute 
the passage. On the right of the British 
were the French Fifth and Seventh Armies, 
and on their left, forming the extremity of the 
Allied line, was the French Sixth Army, acting 
in such close co-operation with the British 
Third Corps in the Soissons region that their 
guns were often turned upon the same point. 
This Sixth French Army, with the British 
Army, may be looked upon as the left wing 
of the huge Allied line which stretched away 
with many a curve and bend to the Swiss 
frontier. During all this hurried retreat 
from the Marne, it is to be remembered that 
the Eastern German armies had hardly moved 
at all. It was their four armies of the right 
which had swung back like a closing door, 
the Crown Prince's Fifth Army being the 
hinge upon which it turned. Now thfe door 
had ceased to swing, and one solid barrier 
presented itself to the Allifcs. It is probable 
that the German preponderance of numbers 
was, for the moment, much lessened or even 
had ceased to exist, for the losses in battle, 
the detachments for Russia, and the opera- 
tions in Belgium had all combined to deplete 
the German ranks. 

The Belgian army had retired into Antwerp 
before the fall of Brussels, but they were by 
no means a force to be disregarded, being fired 
by that sense of intolerable wrong which is 
the most * formidable stimulant to a virile 
nation. From the shelter of the Antwerp 
entrenchments they continually buzzed cfut 
against the German lines of communication, 
and although they were usually beaten back, 
and were finally pent in, they still added to 
the great debt of gratitude which the Allies 
already owed them by holding up a consider- 
able body, two army corps at least, of good 
t oops. On the other hand, the fortress 
o Maubeuge, on the northern French frontier, 
\* lich had been invested within a few days 
o the battle of Mons, had now fallen before 
ti e heavy German guns, with the result 
tl at at least a division of troops under 
\ n Zwehl and these same masterful 
g ris were now released for service on the 
A sne« 



by V_ 



*L 



WONDERFUL WORK OF THE SAPPERS. 

The more one considers the operation of the 
crossing of the Aisne with the battle which 
followed it, the more one is impressed by the 
extraordinary difficulty of the task, the swift, 
debonair way in which it was tackled, and the 
pushful audacity of the various commanders 
in gaining a foothold upon the farther side. 
Consider that upon the 12 th the Army was 
faced by a deep, broad, unfordable river with 
only one practicable bridge in the fifteen miles 
opposite them . They had a formidable enemy 
armed with powerful artillery standing on 
the defensive upon a line of uplands com- 
manding every crossing and approach, whilst 
the valley was so broad that ordinary guns 
upon the corresponding uplands could have 
no effect, and good positions lower down were 
hard to find. There was the problem. And 
yet upon the 14th the bulk of the Army was 
across and had established itself in positions 
from which it could never afterwards be driven. 
All arms must have worked well to bring about 
such a result, but what can be said of the 
Royal Engineers, who built under heavy fire 
in that brief space nine bridges, some of them 
capable of taking heavy traffic, while they Re- 
stored five of the bridges which the enemy 
had destroyed ! September 13th, 19 14, should 
be recorded in their annals as a marvellous 
example of personal self-sacrifice and technical 
proficiency. 

Sir John French, acting with great swiftness 
and decision, did not lose an hour after he had 
established himself in force upon the northern 
bank of the river in pushing his men ahead and 
finding out what was in front of him. The 
weather was still very wet and heavy mists 
drew a veil over the German dispositions, but 
the advance went forward. The British right 
wing, consisting of the First Division of 
the First Corps, had established itself most 
securely, as was natural, since it was the one 
corps which had found an unbroken bridge in 
front of it. The First Division had pushed for- 
ward as far as Moulins and Vendresse, which 
lie about two miles north of the river. Now, 
in the early hours of the 14th, the whole of 
the Second Division got over. The immediate 
narrative, therefore, is concerned with the 
doings of the two divisions of the First Corps, 
upon which fell the first and chief strain of 
the very important and dangerous advance 
upon that date. 

On the top of the line of chalk hills which 
faced the British was an ancient and famous 
highway, the Chemin-des-dames, which, like 
all ancient highways, had been carried along 
the crest of the ridge. This was in the German 

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THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



possession, and it became the objective of the 
British attack. The Second Infantry Bri- 
gade ( Bulfin' s) led the way, Working upwards 
in the early morning from Vendresse through 
the hamlet of Troyon towards the great road. 
This brigade, consisting of the 2nd Sussex, 
1st Northamptons, 1st North Lancashire, and 
2nd Rifles, drawn mostly from solid shire 
regiments, was second to none in the Army. 
Just north of Troyon was a considerable de- 
serted sugar factory, which formed a feature 
in the landscape. It lay within a few hundred 
yards of the Chemin-des-dames, while another 
winding road, cut in the side of the hill, lay 
an equal distance to the south of it, and was 
crossed by the British in their advance. This 
road, which was somewhat sunken in the 
chalk, and thus offered some cover to a 
crouching man, played an important part in 
the operations. 

THE FIGHT FOR THE SUGAR FACTORY. 

Lieutenant Balfour and a picket of the 2nd 
Rifles, having crept up and reconnoitred the 
factory, returned with the information that 
it was held by the Germans and that twelve 
guns were in position three hundred yards 
to the east of it. General Bulfin then — it 
was about three-thirty in the morning — sent 
the 2nd Rifles and the 2nd Sussex Regiment 
forward, with the factory and an adjoining 
whitewashed farmhouse as their objective. 
The 1st North Lancashires followed in imme- 
diate support, while the 1st Northamptons 
remained in reserve. The attacking force 
was under the immediate command of Colonel 
Serocold, of the Rifles. The three advanced 
regiments drove in the pickets of the Germans 
and after a severe fight turned the enemy 
out of his front trench, A company of the 
Sussex capturing several hundred prisoners. 
A number of men, however, including Colonel 
Montresor, were shot while rounding up these 
Germans and sending them to the rear. 
The advanced line had suffered severely, so 
the North Lancashires were called up and 
launched at the sugar factory, which they 
carried with a magnificent bayonet attack in 
spite of a fierce German resistance. Their 
losses were very heavy, including Major 
Lloyd, their commander, but their victory 
was a glorious one. The two batteries of 
the enemy were now commanded by machine- 
guns, brought up to the factory by Lieutenant 
Dashwood of the Sussex. The enemy made 
a brave attempt to get these guns away, but 
the teams and men were shot down, and it 
was a German Colenso. The British, how- 
ever, unlike the Boers, were unable to get away 

Digiiiz&d by v^OOQlC 



the prizes of their victory. The factory was 
abandoned as it was exposed to heavy fire, 
and the four regiments formed a firing-line, 
taking such cover as they could find, but a 
German counter attack developed which was 
so strong that they were forced slowly down 
the hill. 

A small party of Rifles and Sussex, under 
Cathcart and Foljambe, clung hard to the 
captured guns, sending repeated messages : 
u For God's sake, bring horses and fetch 
away these pieces ! " No horses were, how- 
ever, available, and eventually both the 
guns and the buildings were regained by 
the strong German advance^ the former 
being disabled before they were abandoned 
by their captors. Major Green and a com- 
pany of the Sussex, with some of the Cold- 
stream under Major Grant, had got as 
far forward as the Chemin-des-dames, but 
fell back steadily when their flank was 
finally exposed. Nothing could exceed the 
desperate gallantry of officers and men. 
Major Jelf, severely wounded, cheered on 
his riflemen until evening. Major Warre 
of the same regiment and Major Phillips 
rallied the hard-pressed line again and again. 
Lieutenant Spread, of the Lancashires, 
worked his machine-gun until it was smashed, 
and then, wounded as he was, brought up a 
second gun and continued the fight. Major 
Burrows rallied the Lancashires when their 
leader, Major Lloyd, was hit. Brigade- 
Major Watson, of the Queen's, was everywhere 
in the thick of the firing. No men could have 
been better led, nor could any leaders have 
better men. 

GENERAL ADVANCE OF THE ARMY. 

Meanwhile, it is necessary to follow what 
had been going on at the immediate left of 
Bulfin's Brigade. The First Brigade had 
moved up in the face of a considerable fire 
until it came to be nearly as far north as 
the factory, but to the west of it. General 
Bulfin, finding himself hard pressed, appealed 
to his neighbour for assistance, which was at 
once given. The 1st Coldstream were sent 
across to help the dismounted cavalry to 
cover Bulfin's right, since the main German 
attack seemed to be coming from that quarter. 
The 1st Scots Guards was held in reserve, but 
the other regiments of the First Brigade, the 
1st Black Watch and the 1st Camerons (the 
latter regiment had taken the place of the 
brave but unfortunate Munsters), lined up on 
the left of the factory and found themselves 
swept by the same devastating fire which had 
checked the advance. This fire came from 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE BRITISH CAMPAIGN IN FRANCE. 




MAP SHOWING THE BRITISH ADVANCE AT THE BATTLE OF THE AISNE* 



the fringe of the woods and from a line of 
powerful entrenchments lying north-east of 

ictory on the edge of the Chemimdes- 
iimes. Up to this time the British had no 
artillery support on account of the mist, but 
now Geddes T Twenty- fifth Brigade R.F.A., 
comprising the 113th, ri4th, and 115th 
Batteries, was brought to its assistance. It 
could do little good in such "a dim light, and 
one battery, the 115th, under Major John- 
stone, which pushed up within eight hundred 
Jirdsof the enemy's position, was itself marly 
destroyed. The 116th R.F.A.-also did great 
work. The whole infantry line, including a 
mixture of units, men of the Rifles , Sussex, 
and North Lancashire^ with a sprinkling 
rf Guardsmen and Black Watch from the 
First Brigade, came slowly down the hill — 
*' sweating blood to hold their own/ 1 as one 
ol them described it — until they reached the 
sunken road which has been already mentioned* 
There General Bulfin had stationed himself 
with the 1st Northampton as a reserve, and 
the line steadied itself, re-formed, and, with 
the support of theguns^ made head once more 

tst the advancing Germans, who were 
unable to make any progress against the fire 
which was poured into them. With such 
spades and picks as could be got, u line of 
shallow trenches was thrown up and these 
Wi- held against aU attacks for the rest of 

ay,* It was the haphazard line of these 
fair edly-dug shelters which determined the 
posi ion retained in the weeks to <onu\ As 
this vas the apex of the British advance and 



Gntk 






:iJ as accurate German military history of the war shall 

k is difficult tu cumput* the exact rival furies in any 

merit, hut in this attack of the S^econd Brigade, where si* 

i regiments miy l« said tohuve been involved, there are 

lata. A (i-TJii*n officer, deaoiM in g the &aihc mga^ement, 

n T apart from the original German fyece, the reinforce- 

mourned to fourteen battalions from the Guards' Jjwjjer", 

Jaeger KegiiAent, 65th, 13th Reserve, 

- Kegimenii. DV 

2, 



the Guards' Jaeger,- 



all the corps upon the left were in turn 
brought to a standstill and driven to make 
trenches, the whole line of the First Corps 
formed a long diagonal slash across the 
hillside, with its right close to the Chemin- 
des- dames and its left upon the river in thp 
neighbourhood of Chavonne. The result 
was that now and always the trenches of the 
Second Brigade m n in an extremely exposed 
position, for they were open not only to 
the direct fire of the Germans, which was not 
very severe, but to an enfilading fire from more 
distant ^uns upon each flank. Their im- 
mediate neighbours upon the right were the 
tst Queen's Surrey, acting as flank -guard, and 
a Moroccan corps from the Fifth French 
Army, which had not reached so advanced 
a position, and was in echelon upon their 
right rear. 

It has already been shown how the First 
Brigade was divided up, the ist Coldstream 
crossing over to the right of the Second 
Brigade in order to help to keep down the 
German fire, which was most heavy from that 
(lank. The rest of this brigade had carried 
out an advance parallel to that described > 
and many of the Black Watch got mixed 
with Bulfirvs men when they were driven 
back to what proved to be the permanent 
British line. This advance of the First 
Brigade intercepted a strong force of the 
enemy which was creeping round the left 
flank of the Second Brigade. The counter- 
stroke brought the flank attack to a stand- 
still. The leading regiments of the First 
Brigade suffered very severely, however, 
especially the Cameron Highlanders, whose 
gallantry carried them far to the front. This 
regiment lost Lieutenant-Colonel MacLachlan, 
two majors (Mai^^^cj^^holson), three 



i8 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



hundred rank and file in the action. Some 
of these fell into the hands of the enemy, but 
the great majority were killed or wounded. 
When the line on their right fell back, they 
conformed to the movement until they 
received support from two companies of the 
i st Gloucesters from the Third Brigade upon 
their left rear. 

THE FOURTH (GUARDS) BRIGADE'S 
DIFFICULT TASK. 

The Fourth (Guards) Brigade was across 
the river in battle array by ten o'clock in the 
morning and moving northwards towards the 
village of Ostel. Its' task was a supremely 
difficult one. Dense woods faced it, fringed 
with the hostile riflemen, while a heavy shell- 
fire tore through the extended ranks. It is 
safe to say that such an advance could not 
have been carried out in the heavy-handed 
German fashion without annihilating losses. 
As it was, the casualties were heavy, but not 
sufficient to prevent a continuance of the 
attack, which at one o'clock carried the 
farm and trenches which were its objective. 
The steep slopes and the thick woods made 
artillery support impossible, though one 
section of a battery did contrive to keep 
up with the infantry. The 3rd Coldstream 
being held up in their advance on the 
Soupir front, the 1st Irish were moved up on 
their right flank, but the line could do little 
more than hold its own. Captain Berners, 
Lord Guernsey, Lord Arthur Hay, and others 
were killed at this point. 

At one period it was found that the general 
German advance, which had followed the hold- 
ing of the British attack, was threatening to 
flow in between the two divisions of the First 
Army Corps. The Third Brigade (Landon's) 
was therefore deployed rapidly from the point 
about a mile south of Vernesse where it had 
been stationed. Two regiments of the bri- 
gade, the 2nd Welsh and the 1st South Wales 
Borderers, were flung against the heavy 
German column advancing down the Beaulne 
ridge and threatening to cut Haig's corps in 
two. The Welshmen, worthy successors of 
their ancestors who left such a name on the 
battlefields of France, succeeded in heading 
it off and driving it back so that they were 
able to extend and get in touch with the right 
of the Second Division. This consisted of the 
Fifth Brigade (Haking's) with the Sixth 
(Davies') upon its left. Both of these bri- 
gades had to bear the brunt of continual 
German counter-attacks, involving consider- 
able losses, both from shell and rifle fire. In 
spite of this they won their way for a mile 



or more up the slopes, where they were 
brought to a standstill and dug themselves 
into temporary shelter, continuing the 
irregular diagonal line of trenches which had 
been started by the brigades upon the right. 

CAVALRY AS A MOBILE RESERVE. 

It is impossible not to admire the way in 
which the German general in command ob- 
served and attempted to profit by. any gap in 
the British line. It has already been shown 
how he tried to push his column between the 
two divisions of the First Corps and was only 
stopped by the deployment of t}ie Third 
Brigade. Later, an even fairer chance pre- 
sented itself, and he was quick to take 
advantage of it. The advance of the Guards* 
Brigade to the Ostel ridge had caused a con- 
siderable gap between them and the nearest 
unit of the Second Corps, and also between the 
First Corps and the river. A German attack 
came swarming down upon the weak spot. 
From Troyon to Ostel, over five miles of 
ground, Haig's corps was engaged to the last 
man and pinned down in their positions. It 
was not possible to fill the gap. Not to fill 
it might have meant disaster — disaster under 
hfeavy shell-fire with an unfordable river in 
the rear. Here was a supreme example of 
the grand work that was done when our 
cavalry were made efficient as dismounted 
riflemen. Their mobility brought them 
quickly to the danger spot. Their training 
turned them in an instant from horsemen to 
infantry. The 15th Hussars, the South Irish 
Horse, the whole of Briggs' First Cavalry 
Brigade, and finally the whole of De Lisle' s 
Second Cavalry Brigade, were thrown into 
the gap. The German advance was stayed 
and the danger passed. From now onwards 
the echelon formed by the units of the First 
Corps ended with these cavalry brigades 
near Chavonne to the immediate north of 
the river. 

The Third Division of the Second Corps, 
being on the immediate left of the operations 
which have been already described, moved 
forward upon Aizy, which is on about the same 
level as Ostel, the objective of the Guards. 
The Eighth (Doran's) Brigade moved north 
by a tributary stream which runs down to 
the Aisne, while the Ninth (Shaw's) tried to 
advance in line with it on the plateau to the 
right. Both brigades found it impossible 
to get any farther, and established themselves 
in entrenchments about a mile north of Vailly, 
so as to cover the important bridge at that 
place, where the Seventh Brigade was in 
reserve. >fTdjiETi adltfifeBlTiFusilier regiments of 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE BRITISH CAMPAIGN IN FRANCE. 



19 



the Ninth Brigade all lost heavily and the 
Lincolns had at one time to recross the river, 
but bravely recovered their position. 

The attack made by the Fifth Division near 
Missy was held up by a very strong German 
position among the woods which was fronted 
by wire entanglements. The regiments 
chiefly engaged were the Norfolks and Bed- 
fords of the Fifteenth Brigade, with the 
Cornwalls and East Surreys of the Four- 
teenth Brigade, the remains of the Cheshires 
being in close support. They crossed the wire 
and made good progress at first, but were 
eventually brought to a stand by a heavy fire 
at close range from a trench upon their right 
front. It was already dusk, so the troops 
ended by maintaining the position at Missy 
and Ste. Marguerite, where there were bridges 
to be guarded. 

The Fourth Division of Pulteney's Third 
Corps had no better success, and was only 
able to maintain its ground. It may be 
remarked, as an example of valiant individual 
effort, that this division was largely indebted 
for its ammunition supply to the efforts of 
Captain Johnston, of the Sappers, who, upon 
a crazy raft of his own construction, aided by 
Lieutenant Flint, spent twelve hours under 
fire ferrying over the precious boxes. The 
familiar tale of stalemate was to be told of 
the Sixth French Army in the Soissons section 
of the river. Along the whole, Allied line 
the position was the same, the greatest success 
and probably the hardest fighting having 
fallen to the lot of the Eighteenth French 
Corps, which had taken, lost, and finally 
retaken Craonne, thus establishing itself 
upon the lip of that formidable plateau 
which had been the objective of all the 
attacks. 

In the Vailly region the Fifth Cavalry Bri- 
gade found itself in a difficult position, for it 
had crossed the stream as a mounted unit 
in expectation of a pursuit, and now found 
itself under heavy fire in the village of 
Vailly with no possibility of getting forward. 
The only alternative was to recross the 
river by the angle narrow bridge, which was 
done at a later date under very heavy fire, the 
troopers galloping over in single file. This 
dJHcult operation was superintended by 
C ptain Wright of the Engineers, the same 
b: ive officer who had endeavoured to blow 
uii the bridge at Mons. Unhappily, he was 



mortally wounded on this occasion. On the 
afternoon of the 14th — it being found that the 
British artillery was shelling our own ad- 
vanced trenches — Staff-Captain Harter of the 
Ninth Brigade galloped across the bridge and 
informed the gunners as to the true position. 

Towards evening, in spite of the fact that 
there were no reserves and that all the troops 
had endured heavy losses and great fatigue, 
a general advance was ordered in the hope 
of gaining the high ground of the Chemin-des- 
dames before night. It was nearly sunset 
when the orders were given and the troops 
responded gallantly to the call, though many 
of them had been in action since daybreak. 
The fire, however, was very heavy, and no 
great progress could be made. The * First 
Division gained some ground, but was brought 
to a standstill. The only brigade which made 
good headway was flaking' s Fifth, which 
reached the crest of the hill in the neigh- 
bourhood of Tilleul-de-Courtecon. General 
Haking sent out scouts, and finding German 
outposts upon both his flanks he withdrew 
under cover of darkness. 

Thus ended the sharp and indecisive action 
of September 14th, the Germans holding 
their ground, but being unable to drive back 
the Allies, who maintained their position 
and opposed an impassable obstacle to the 
renewed advance upon Paris. The battle 
was marked by the common features of 
advance, arrest, and entrenchment, which 
occurred not only in the British front, but 
in that of the French armies upon either flank. 
When the action ceased, the 1st Northamptons 
and the 1st Queen's Surrey, detached from 
the Third Brigade and sent to guard the 
pressure point at the extreme right of the 
line, had actually reached the Chemin-des- 
dames, the British objective, and had dug 
themselves in upon the edge of it. From this 
very advanced spot the British line extended 
diagonally across the hillside for many miles 
until it reached the river. Several hundred 
prisoners and some guns were taken in the 
course of the fighting. When one considers 
the predominant position of the Germans, 
and that their artillery was able to give them 
constant assistance, whereas that of the 
British and French was only brought up with 
the utmost difficulty, we can only marvel 
that the infantry were able to win and to 
hold the ground. 



{To be continued.) 



by Google 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



EGG-SHELL 

By ROLAND PERTWEE 

Illustrated \by E. S. Hodgson. 




freely 



HERE is no gainsaying the 
fact that Simon Caleb, dealer 
in curios and porcelain, of the 
city of Bristol, was a very 
unpopular man. His business 
methods were unscrupulous, 
not to say slim, and were 
denounced by his fellow-craftsmen. 



His unpopularity was heightened by the fact 
that he was uncommonly lucky in the 
purchases he made and their subsequent 
marketing. 

Thus, when it became known that Simon 
had bought an egg-shell plate of the very 
finest quality and decoration, and had bought 
it from an aged and infirm cottager for the 
price of sixpence, public opinion ran very 
high indeed. 

Sympathy for the cottager was to be heard 
on every side, and the number of dealers who 
called at Simon* s shop to find out the invalid's 
address was quite remarkable. 

Simon, however, preserved a reticence on 
the subject, and their solicitations came to 
naught. 

The only person who succeeded in ascer- 
taining it was Mr. Palliser, of Palliser and 
Tonge, and the knowledge came to him 
without resorting to Simon's premises. Mr, 
Palliser lost no time in paying a call upon 
the bed-ridden old lady, and brightened up her 
declining days by describing to what extent 
she had been imposed upon. He even went 
so far as to intimate his willingness to buy 
any similar trifle she might possess at its 
true value — namely, half a crown. But Simon 
had looked to it that no other valuable had 
escaped his vigilant eye. Air. Palliser hid his 
chagrin as best he might and demanded to 
know the origin of the egg-shell plate. 

The invalid's mind was not very clear upon 
the subject, but she hazarded the belief that 
her niece had acquired it whilst in service. 
When or how this had taken place she was 
unable to answer, and the niece being dead 
Palliser' s chances of solving the antecedents 
of the plate were fairly remote. 

Consequently, after a few expressions of 



sympathy over his hostess's unhappy ailment, 
he took his departure. 

Having been commissioned by Lord Louis 
Lewis, the well-known connoisseur, to buy 
egg-shell porcelain, Mr. Palliser was not 
unnaturally aggrieved that this particular 
specimen should have escaped him. 

He thereupon conceived a plan whereby he 
could induce Simon Caleb to enter into a part- 
nership with him for the purpose of negotiating 
the plate to their mutual advantage. 

With this end in view, he called upon Simon 
and asked permission to examine the plate. 

" What for ? " asked Simon. 

" If it's genuine I might find' you a cus- 
tomer," he said. 

" I can find all the customers I want, 
without any help from you," was the rejoinder. 
However, he produced the plate, and Palliser 
purred in admiration over ft. 

" Remarkable ! " he said. " Quite remark- 
able. The odd thing is that it's the dead 
spit of a plate I've got at home. Though 
mine isn't genuine," he added. "How much 
are you going to ask for it ? " 

" Four hundred pounds," Was the reply. 

11 I doubt if it's worth that," said Palliser. 

" Lord Louis Lewis would buy it like a 
shot," said Simon. 

Palliser frowned. " Lord Louis only buys 
through me," he said. 

" He would make an exception if he saw 
this plate," said Simon. 

" He wouldn't," said Palliser. " He's got 
a tight contract with me. It would be to 
your advantage to let me have it for a couple 
of hundred pounds." 

Simon Caleb extended a hand. " You are 
out of this deal," he said. " I only showed 
you the thing to make your mouth water. 
Besides, where'd you raise a couple of hundred, 
I should like to know ? I was told that the 
Official Receiver was in at your place." 

" Who said so ? " asked Palliser, quickly, 

Simon grinned. " Never you mind," he 
said. " Hand me back the plate." 

Palliser backed a pace. 4< You won't let 
me into the deal, then ? " he said. 

L, IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



EGU-SI1ELL. 



2t 



into a display of emotion. This 7 however, was not the 

rase. From an aesthetic pointy of view neither of them 

was in the least moved ; the truth being that their 

admiration for a thing of beauty was measured 

entirely by its marketable value. 

Palliser was the first to break the silence, 
l< My ! Jt he said. 4 However did I come to 
do that ? " 

u On purpose/' said Simon, and reached 
across for an invoke form, 

4 What are you going to do about 
it ? " asked Palliser, 

Simon dipped his pen into the 

ink and wiped it on the inside of 

his coat-sleeve. "Make you 

out a bill for four hundred 

pounds/ 1 he replied. 

1 I haven't pot any 

money/ 1 said Palliser. 

4 Fm on the verge 

of bankruptcy. 

Y o u wouldn't 

realize six- 

pence in the 

pound." 




•No "said Simon , 
emphatically. 

1 What's the good 
of dividing profits 
*hen you can get 
thtnraB ? " 

u A pity," said Paliiscr, 
great pity." 

Then j for a man who 
presumably accustomed to the 
fondling of delicate ware 
Palliser did a strange thing. 
He dropped the egg-shell plate, 
and so that there should be 
no doubt whatsoever as to the 
result, he dropped it upon a 
slab of green malachite marble 
reposing conveniently upon the 
floor of the shop. 

One of the peculiarities of 
egg-shell china is its inability to withstand the 
shock of a fall and at the same time preserve 
its iginai outlines. This plate proved no 
exee tion to the rule. What a moment before 
had been a single piece of rare quality^ now, 
by t e process of contact, had become a matter 
rf s me sixty fragments of varying shapes and 
to To a devotee of jigsaw puzzles the tusk of 
leii ing these several atoms would have been 
oae exceptional interest, 

i would imagine that the lo^s of such .an 
%i v «ft would have excited these two gentry 






HE PRODUqjyfj 

"Mb&A 



.JB^AMD PALLISER 
[ION OVER IT," 

WCHKjAN 



22 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



Simon regarded him through narrowing lids. 
" Palliser," he said, " you're a dirty "dog — a 
dirty dog in the manger/' 

" You would never have got four hundred 
for it/' said Palliser, irrelevantly. " But 
there is no reason why we shouldn't both 
make a bit now." 

Simon Caleb picked up a heavily-carved 
Maori whip-handle and emerged from behind 
the counter to do violence against the person 
of Mr. Palliser. 

" Don't be a fool," said Palliser, backing 
towards the door. " Don't be a fool. 1 had 
the very best reason for breaking that plate." 

" Not such a good one as mine for breaking 
your head/' said Simon, and made a sweep 
with his weapon, greatly endangering the safety 
of an Oriental bowl in the near vicinity. Pal- 
liser realized that his present position was by 
no means secure. Being a man of resource, he 
threw his arms about a tall glass case in which 
the rarer specimens of Simon's collection were 
exhibited. 

"Touch me," said he, "and Til push the 
lot over." 

Simon hesitated. He was fully aware that 
Palliser would not hesitate to commit this 
further depredation, and, much as he desired 
to attack the creature before him, the con- 
tents of that case represented a great deal of 
invested . capital. Its journey to the floor 
would inevitably result in a severe financial 
loss to himself. Moreover, he was uncertain 
to what extent the law would support his act 
of violence. 

Palliser, as a keen psychologist, followed to 
a nicety the working of his adversary's mind. 
He also appreciated the value of his present 
situation, and determined not to relax his 
hold until a satisfactory understanding had 
been arrived at. 

" Why did you drop the plate ? " asked 
Simon, impotently. 

" Business," he replied ; " business. Even 
at Christie's it never would have fetched two 
hundred." 

" Lord Louis would have paid four, and 
been glad to," said Simon. 

" Even if he had," replied Palliser, tm you 
would have only got half of that for yourself. 
He is a funny chap, Lord Louis is. Always 
insists that the original owner has half the 
profits. You would have had to split the 
cheque with that precious old lady you 
swindled." 

Simon smiled. " Do you think I should 
have been such a fool as to let him know where 
it came from ? " he said. 

u If you hadn't, I should," said Palliser. 



" So you see two hundred is the outside you 
would have touched. Now, if you will let 
me into" the deal we can both do very nicely 
for ourselves." 

" Why didn't you say so before," said 
Simon, " instead of breaking the thing like 
a fool ? " 

Palliser grinned in an unlovely fashioru 
" It'll be worth more to us broken than 
whole," he said. 

" Us ? " said Simon, quickly. 

" Us," replied Palliser. " We'll form a nice 
quiet little partnership, you and me, and 
divide all profits." 

" I bought the plate and it belongs to me," 
said Simon. 

" Very well, then," said Palliser, with 
dignity. " You stick the bits together and 
sell it for what you can get." 

Simon bit his lower lip thoughtfully. Then 
he turned and regarded the brpken pieces of 
the egg-shell plate, which littered the floor. 
" It's a bargain," he said. " Give me three- 
pence for half the capital I laid out and let's 
hear what you've got to say." 

Palliser released his hold upon the glass 
case and stepped boldly into the open. " Now 
you are talking/ he said. " Shall we step 
into the parlour and discuss it quietly over a 
glass of whisky ? We had better pick up 
those bits first, though." 

When all the fragments had been carefully 
collected and placed in a quarto envelope, 
Simon led the way into the dusty little parlour 
behind the shop. 

" First of all," said Palliser, drawing up a 
chair near the fire, " here is my threepence." 

Simon transferred the coins to his own 
pocket without comment, whilst Palliser 
helped himself to a gl^ss of whisky-and- 
water. " Now for it," he said. 

The outline of the plan which he proceeded 
to sketch was remarkable at once for its 
simplicity, neatness, and entire lack of moral 
scruple. 

Briefly, it was as follows : — 

As previously stated, Palliser was possessed 
of an imitation egg-shell plate, similar, but 
not identical to the one whose destruction he 
had so recently encompassed. Viewed in a 
half-light by a short-sighted person, the 
substitute might well be mistaken for the 
genuine article. Upon these conditions the 
success of Palliser s scheme was hinged. 

Lord Louis Lewis, though an excellent 
connoisseur, was unhappily afflicted with very 
indifferent vision. True, this defect was easily- 
remedied by the use of thick crystal glasses. 
But these g'iasscs ric W9re of a variety which 

IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



EGG-SHELL. 



23 



{ietracted in no small measure from the 
appearance of the wearer. Upon this point 
Lord Louis was disposed to, be sensitive, and 
only wore them when actually required. 
Thus, should an object be unexpectedly 
thrust into his hands, one might reasonably 
expect a certain lapse of time to occur before 
his lordship would be in a position to bring 
to bear his critical capacity. 

"Look here," said Simon. " What's all 
this leading up to ? " 

u This," said Palliser. "Til go and see 
Lord Louis, and tell him you have a bit of 
egg-shell of the first quality which you want 
five hundred for." 

" Five hundred ? " said Simon. 

"That's it," said Palliser. "Then I'll 
bring him along to have a look at it. After 
tea— twilight, d'y'see ? Before he has got his 
glasses on, you'll give him the plate — my 
plate. On the underside of it we'll have fixed 
*bit of fine silk, the other end of which you'll 
hold. While his lordship is fumbling for his 
specs, you will give the silk a pull — and 
i down comes the plate. Do it neat, and he'd 
never know it wasn't his own fault." 

Simon glared. " What game ? " he said. 
11 You've only got one idea — to break every- 
thing." 

" When a man breaks a thing," said Pal- 
mer, " it is up to him to buy it. That is, 
of course," he added, hurriedly, " providing 
be has the cash." 

"Palliser," said Simon, "you are a fool. 
Do you think he'd pay five hundred for 
breaking a rotten fake that isn't worth half a 
dollar? Do you think he wouldn't want to 
take the pieces home and look 'em over ? " 

"You are forgetting the genuine one we 
packed in the envelope a minute ago," said 
Palliser, sweetly. " It oughtn't to be difficult 
to change the pieces of the plate he broke for 
the real one. See the idea ? " 

" I am beginning to," said Simon. Then, in 
a tone of admiration, " There is no getting 
away from it> Palliser, you are a man of ideas." 

Palliser rubbed his bony knuckles and 
Simon poured out two stiff whiskies, with a 
generosity which rarely characterized his 
actions. 

Under the influence of the spirit the plan 
**s discussed from every aspect. The 
minutest details were sand-papered to so fine 
a surface as to admit no possibility of failure. 
It was decided that after the plate had been 
i^n to Lord Louis, he should be asked to 
switch on the light. This would ensure that 
he held it only by one hand. 

A fine gut fishing-cast was to be substi- 1 



tuted for the silk, as being less likely to tangle 
or break. One end of this was to be affixed 
to the rim of the plate with a seal of white 
wax. It was to be Simon's task to pull the 
cast at the psychological moment. 

There followed a period of haggling as to 
the division of spoils. Palliser stoutly ad- 
hered to his original claim for half ; and, in 
view of the fact that nothing could be achieved 
without the duplicate plate, Simon was forced 
to agree. An agreement was duly drawn up 
to that effect, to which they both affixed their 
'signatures. 

At four-thirty on the following afternoon 
Palliser presented himself at Lord Louis' 
abode. 

His response to Palliser' s inquiries as to how 
he did was courteous if not effusive. 

" Very well, I thank you," he said. " Do 
I gather from your presence that you have 
found something likely to interest me ? " 

" I have indeed," replied Palliser. " There 
is a Bit of china down-town which I am sure 
your lordship would be glad to have." 

" Egg-shell ? "asked Lord Louis. 

u Of the very finest quality," said Palliser. 
" A plate," he added ; " and the decoration 
is some of the best I have ever seen." 

From his waistcoat pocket Lord Louis 
produced his spectacle-case. 

" Let me see it," he was pleased to remark. 

" Unfortunately," said Palliser, " that's just 
what I can't. The plate is down at Simon 
Caleb's. It was left to him by an uncle, who 
died a few days ago." This falsehood was 
inspired by Lord Louis' irritating curiosity 
as to the origin of all his purchases. They 
had congratulated themselves that this be- 
reavement would prove an admirable blind. 

Lord Louis clicked his tongue sympatheti- 
cally. " And you think this plate Would 
attract me ? " he said. 

" I know it would," said Palliser. " The 
two shades of gilding alone are worth the 
money, and held up to the light " 

Lord Louis broke in. " You have omitted 
to mention the price," he said. 

u Five hundred is what he asked," said 
Palliser, clearing his throat. 

His lordship raised his eyebrows. " A high 
figure," he remarked. " It must indeed be 
a remarkable piece to justify such a demand. 
Perhaps Mr. Caleb would be prepared to accept 
less." 

Palliser shook his head dubiously. " Caleb 
is a funny man," he said. " Cute, mind 
you, but, if you understand me, funny." 

" A rare combination," remarked Lord 
Louis. 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



24 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



" It is," said Palliser, deferentially. " I 
don't know whether your lordship is free this 
afternoon, but, if so, perhaps you would care 
to take a look at the plate." 

Lord Louis glanced at his watch. " I had 
an appointment," he said, " but it is im- 
material. If you will wait until I have made 
a telephone-call I shall be pleased to. accom- 
pany you." 

Palliser rose to his feet as Lord Louis, 
carrying gloves and a cane, re-entered the 
apartment. 

They found Simon Caleb standing behind his 
counter when they arrived and Palliser greeted 
him warmly. 

u This is Mr. Caleb, your lordship," he said. 
" Simon— here is Lord Loufe Lewis, who 
kindly wants to have a look at that egg-shell 
plate." 

" Mr. Palliser informs me that it is ia very 
rare specimen," said Lord Louis. 

" And so it is," said Simon. " But I haven't 
made up my mind that I want to sell it." 

" In which respect you are not peculiar," 
said Lord Louis. " I have yet to meet the 
dealer who did not preface a sale with pre- 
cisely that remark." 

The unexpected nature of this comment 
temporarily deprived Simon of a fitting reply. 

" Come, come, your lordship," said Pal- 
liser, " that's hardly fair. You forget this 
plate is a sort of an heirloom. Been in the 
family for fifty years. Mr. Caleb, here, was 
very fond of his poor uncle. Isn't that right, 
Simon ? " 

Below the level of the counter Simon was 
winding a small piece of catgut round the 
first finger of his left hand. 

" He was always good to me," he said, 
with growing sentiment, "always — and that's 
where it is. Still, there'd be no harm in 
your having a look, would there?" 

Lord Louis tucked his malacca cane under 
his right arm and placed his gloves upon the 
counter. 

" That is the precise purpose of my visit," 
he said. 

Simon stooped and took the plate, from a 
shelf beneath him. He was careful to hold 
it at the exact spot where the gut-cast had 
been sealed on to the rim. 

" Here you are, then," said he, and drew 
a deep breath for the coming ordeal. 

Lord Louis Lewis took the plate" in his 
right hand, holding it lightly as such delicate 
ware demands. 

" It feels a trifle heavy," he remarked, 
balancing it on the tips of his fingers. " 111 
just put on my glasses." 



>gie 



" Very dark in here," said Palliser, who 
had joined Simon behind tha counter. 

" There is a switch at your elbow, my 
lord," said Simon, indicating the spot. 

" Let me," said Palliser. 

" Pray do not disturb yourself," Lord 
Louis remarked ; " I can manage very well 
myself." He took a step towards the switch, 
the plate perilously poised upon the extreme 
tips of his fingers. Immediately beneath his 
hand was the slab of green malachite upon 
which the genuine plate had met its fate. 
Beyond question the moment had arrived. 
Lord Louis had no sooner laid his hand upon 
the electric switch than Simon gave the cast 
a short but determined pull, at the same 
time releasing it at his end so that the fall 
should be undisturbed. 

In a futile effort to save the plate Lord 
Louis' stick fell from beneath his arm and 
alighted, head downwards, upon the largest 
fragment. This added shock caused a shower 
of splinters to rise into the air and descend 
again over his lordship's boot, and thence to 
the floor. 

" What have you done ? What have you 
done ? " yelled Simon, grovelling out through 
the flap-covered opening of the counter. 

Lord Louis, after a violent effort to avert 
the disaster, immediately regained his dignity 
and raised himself to his full height. 

" I cannot account for the accident in any 
way," he said. " It seemed to me as though 
the plate moved in my hand." 

Simon was distraught. " A fine tiling," 
he moaned, " to go smashing about like 
that ! " 

" Very unlucky," said Palliser, who, on 
hands and knees, was dragging the floor for 
the tell-tale cast, which, by good fortune, he 
found almost at once. " Most unlucky," 
arid, rising to his feet, he placed his find, 
which during the fall had severed its con- 
nection with the plate, in a large brass bowl 
convenient to his hand. 

" How did you come to do it ? " said 
Simon, his voice rising to a shrill wail. 

" I have said," replied Lord Louis, " that 
I am unable to account for the accident." 

" You will have to," said Simon, empha- 
sizing his words by a blow on the counter. 
" You'll have to account for it. Every penny 
— whether you like it or not ! " 

Lord Louis raised his hand in a gesture 
commanding silence. " I think," he said, 
" you forget the respect due to my station. 
Mr. Palliser will reassure you that I am the 
last man in the world who would permit 
your loss n 6b ng^f ^indemnified. Please do 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



EGG-SHKLL, 




"'WHAT HAVfc VOU DONt ? WHAT HAVK VOL' DONE?' VALUED SIMON/" 



not address me again with such a kick of 
restraint." 

M Well/' said Simon, slightly mollified, 
"if your lordship speaks so fair, I am sure 
1 i ologize for giving offence." 

1 "hen/' said Lord Louis, " be so good as 
to JJeet those pieces and give them to me. 
If f tfter inspection, I find them to be of the 
ftri quality, I shall be pleased to pay any 
Cfe£ ~nable claim you may advance/ 1 

was going to ask five hundred for it/' 
sai wnon, 

circumstances biatuj; as llit-y art, 1 /' 



uj^ tin i in j hi *, j 

by Google 



said Lord Louis. " I am in no position to 
offer any comment." 

11 Simon/ 1 said Palliser, " take his lordship 
into the parlour. I'll make a parrel of these 
pieces, my lord, as perhaps you \\ like to look 
'em over at home." 

" That will suit me very well/' said Lord 
Louis , " especially as I have omitted to 
bring my cheque-book*" 

Simon led the way into the parlour. Here 
lie exerted himself to the utmost to reduce 
tlte effect of his recent outburst. 

In a few mowAjnljS ulVlfej* .returned wiili a 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



26 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



packet containing the broken pieces of the 
* genuine plate. The substitute had, by this 
time, been carefully secreted under the 
counter. 

Lord Louis took the parcel and his 
departure. He had arranged, the next day 
being Sunday, that Palliser and Simon should 
call for their cheque on Monday morning. 
Despite his outward calm he was by no means 
satisfied that the accident was fortuitous. 
His sensitive finger-tips had been conscious 
of a sensation of liveliness on the part of the 
plate — as though it moved of its own accord. 
That this feeling was the result of imagination 
he was bound to believe. He was quite by 
himself at the time of the accident. The 
nearest of the two dealers was more than 
six feet away. And yet 

Then, again, the price was very high. Even 
assuming the plate to have been of th£ finest 
quality, five hundred pounds was a great 
deal to pay. Indisputably, it was a most 
unsatisfactory episode. 

There is, however, a bright side to every- 
thing, and what Lord Louis lacked in gaiety 
was more than counterbalanced by the 
satisfaction experienced by the firm of 
Palliser and Caleb. From start to finish no 
single hitch had occurred to mar the complete 
success of their operations. . 

Arrived at his home Lord Louis partook of 
a modest repast, and after a glass of light port 
and a couple of walnuts he proceeded to 
reassemble the pieces of the broken plate. 
With the aid of a strong adhesive and an 
infinite fund of patience, the difficult task 
was completed. It was, indeed, a beautiful 
example of porcelain — and yet, strangely 
enough, familiar. Somewhere he had seen 
this plate before. He knew it well — every 
detail of it: that girl riding upon the ass; 
the grotesque male figure with the porcupine 
beard ; the two shades of gilding in the vine 
pattern encircling the rim. There was no 
room for doubt, this plate was one which had 
been stolen from his own collection some twelve 
years before. Yet Simon had said that it had 
belonged to his uncle, who had treasured it 
for half a century. That was odd. Then, in 
a flash, a tiny and long-disused cell in Lord 
Louis' brain awoke, and he knew, if this was 
indeed his plate, there would be a series of 
small pinholes on the back, in much the same 
formation as the constellation of Cassiopeia. 

He reversed the plate, and there were the 
pinholes, just as he remembered them. 

This discovery finally disproved the truth 
of the uncle story. Lord Louis had always 
accounted for the disappearance of the plate 

Digitized by CjOOQIC 



by the theory that one of the maid-servants 
had broken it and, rather than confess to her 
carelessness, had hidden all , races of what had 
occurred by throwing away the pieces. The 
possibility of theft had never crossed his 
generous mind. In the light of recent events, 
however, he decided to ask his housekeeper 
what servants had been living at the house 
when the loss had occurred. 

He rang the bell and commanded the man 
who answered it to summon Mrs. Swan. 
When this good lady arrived he at once put 
the question to her. 

Mrs. Swan pursed her lips in thought. " I 
couldn't exactly say," she said, " not without 
looking at my book." 

When the book was forthcoming it was 
ascertained that a maid, named Ann Minter, 
had left their employ through ill-health a 
few days after the plate had been found miss- 
ing. She was a Bristol girl, and had given her 
aunt's address when writing for a character. 

Lord Louis made a note of the address, 
thanked Mrs. Swan, and sallied forth to pay 
a late call upon Ann Minter's aunt. 

He was somewhat embarrassed at finding 
the lady in bed and suffering from acute 
phthisis, so he lost no time in explaining the 
object of his visit. Removing the wrapping 
he held up the plate for her inspection, at the 
same time asking her if she had ever seen it 
before. 

Mrs. Minter confessed that she had, adding 
that she had sold it to a dealer some four 
days previously for the sum of sixpence. 
Lord Louis received this news with just in- 
dignation. He inquired after the niece, and 
was further distressed to hear of her pre- 
mature demise. Having left a sovereign 
upon the invalid's counterpane he bade her 
farewell. 

One thing was evident : Simon Caleb was 
not above practising deceptions. He had 
wilfully misrepresented the true origin of the 
plate and had imposed upon the previous 
owner with a shameful disregard for honesty. 
Even though circumstances should compel 
him to write Simon Caleb a cheque for five 
hundred pounds, Lord Louis determined that 
half that sum should be made over to the old 
lady. 

Having arrived at this resolve he dismissed 

the subject from his thoughts and directed 

his footsteps towards the Conservative Club, 

where he played two-hundred-up at billiards 

with a casual acquaintance. Incidentally 

this person was also a lover of Oriental 

porcelain. 

It was during the course of this game that 
Original from ° 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



EGG-SHELL. 



27 



I 



I 



\ 



another link was forged in the chain of evi- 
dence against Simon Caleb and his partner. v 
Refusing to make use of the long rest, 
Lord Louis was sprawling over the table 
to accomplish a difficult shot, the whole of 
his body, with the exception of his feet, being 
disposed upon the green cloth. At the 
critical moment, bfefore the stroke was made, 
he experienced a sharp pain just above his 
right ankle. The company being exclusively 
male, Lord Louis permitted himself the luxury 
of a small licence in speech* 

" Anything the matter ? " demanded the 
friend. 

" Something pricked me," said Lord Louis. 
He swung round to a sitting posture and bared 
his leg, to find that he was bleeding from a 
small but jagged cut. 

" How very odd ! " he said, and felt over the 
surface of his sock. " There is nothing here 
that could have done this." 

il Maybe a nail has dropped into the cuff 
of your trouser," suggested the friend. 
' " Possibly," said Lord Louis, and turning 
it down revealed a triangular piece of por- 
celain about an inch long. " Dear me ! " 
he said. " How did this get here ? Ah ! I 
•know. I smashed a plate to-day, and one of 
the pieces must have slipped here unnoticed." 

" That's it," said the friend, and taking the 
fragment held it up to the light. " Hum ! " 
he commented. " You didn't lose much 
when you broke this. Japanese imitation of 
egg-shell, is it not ? " 

" On the contrary," said Lord Louis, rather 
coldly. "It is one of the finest specimens 
I have had the good fortune to examine. I* 
have the rest of the plate here, if you would 
care to see it/ ' He undid the parcel and placed 
the plate in his friend's hands. 

•* You have cemented it already ? " re- 
marked that gentleman. 

** Yes," said Lord Louis, unexpectedly 
adding, " Good heavens ! " For it suddenly 
occurred to him that the plate before him, so 
far as the actual number of pieces was con- 
cerned, was intact. There was no room for 
another fragment. 

When he had explained the reason for 
his ejaculation, his companion was duly 
astonished. Lord Louis took the lately-dis- 
1 overed piece and examined it minutely. 
* You were right," he said. " This is common 
apanese." He turned it over in his hand. 
' Now what in the world is that for ? " And 
] te pointed to a seal of white wax, from which 
s short length of gut was protruding. 

" Looks like a bit of fishing-cast," said the 
i iend, " It's been broken off short, I should 



by Google 



say. Surely no one would hang up a plate on 
thin stuff like that ? " 

Lord Louis' brows contracted. Dark 
thoughts were chasing through his brain. 
" With your permission," he said, " we will 
chalk up our scores and fini§h our game upon 
another occasion." Whereupon he wrapped 
up the plate, put the small piece in his waht- 
coat-pocket, and hurriedly left the club. 

As has been hinted, Lord Louis Lewis > as 
no fool, and when once he was fairly started 
upon a trail he followed it with commendable 
zeal. A closer examination of the morsel of 
china in his pocket revealed the fact that the 
cast had become kinked just where it joined 
the wax and had, in consequence, broken. 
From this observation he reconstructed, with 
unswerving perception, the w r hole scheme of 
which he was to have been the victim. He 
realized now why the shop had been un- 
lighted ; why the plate had been thrust into 
his hands so unceremoniously and before 
he had had time to affix his glasses. The 
sensation of the plate moving from his finger- 
tips was easily explained. He smiled grimly 
at the recollection of having been lured into 
Simon's parlour. Obviously this was done 
that the exchange might be made between 
the real and the spurious plate. It was 
clear that some disaster had occurred to the 
genuine specimen before he had come upon 
the scene, and this plot had been hatched that 
the two dealers might be able to recover their 
loss at his expense. 

Lord Louis carefully considered what 
course of action he should pursue. He dis- 
liked the idea of carrying the matter into a 
court of law on account of the publicity in 
which he would become embroiled. Con-- 
sequently he decided to deal with it himself, 
and forthwith addressed a note to Simon and 
Palliser asking them to call on Monday at 
eleven-thirty. 

Punctual to their appointment, they 
presented themselves, and after a few well- 
balanced phrases regarding the weather, Lord 
Louis begged Simon to present his account. 
When this had been placed in his hands, he 
adjusted his pince-nez and read the contents 
aloud : — 

" Simon Caleb, Art Dealer. To Lord Louis 
Lewis, of Bruto 1 House, Clifton. To breaking 
one Egg-shell Plate, value £500. Price £500." 

m He laid the bill upon his desk. " Mr. 
Caleb," he said, 4< you consider this claim to 
be a just and fair one ? " 

Simon hesitated. " Your lordship said 
you'd be willing to pay it," he remarked, 
rather huskily. 

Original from 
UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



28. 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



" I did/' said Lord Louis, " But I merely 
wanted to know if your conscience was quite 
clear." Simon nodded and fixed his eyes 
on the picture-rail. 4< I understand/' he 
continued, " that your reason for valuing the 
plate so highly is a family one. I am assuming 
that ha'd it not been the property of your uncle 
you would have been willing to accept less." 

" I might," said Simon ; " but it's hard to 
say." 

" It would only make the difference of a 
pound or two," said Palliser. " Four hundred 
and ninety-seven at the lowest." 

Lord Louis arched his brows. " Do you 
only value your uncle's association at three 
sovereigns?" he asked. 

" That's all," said Simon. 

" You will forgive me if I speak bluntly," 
said Lord Louis. " But I have reason to believe 
that your uncle, whoever he may be, never 
had anything to do with this plate — that he 
exists merely as a figure of imagination. I 
beg you will not so forget yourself as to in- 
terrupt me. This plate was stolen from my 
collection, some twelve years back, by a maid- 
servant of the name of Ann Minter. You 
obtained it from her aunt at the price of six- 
pence." 

Simon and Palliser gasped. 

" I can substantiate every word I have 
uttered," said Lord Louis, leaning back in 
his chair. 

" But even if it is true ? " said Simon. 

Lord Louis placed his finger-tips together. 
" You are doubtless aware it is my custom to 
insist upon a fair division of profits between 
the owner and the dealer in matters of this 
kind. I am afraid, Mr. Caleb, this will reduce 
your cheque to — let me see — two hundred and 
forty-eight pounds ten shillings. I am now 
going to fetch the plate. Pray excuse me if 
I leave you for a moment," and with a bow 
he withdrew. 

"Here's a go!" said Palliser. " He'll 
stick to what he says. What are you going 
to do about it ? " 

" Nothing," said Simon. " You're the 
loser. Your share'll pay the old woman — 
not mine." ♦ 

Palliser gripped him by the arm. " None 
of that," he said. " We are partners in this 
deal. Do one crooked thing and I'll show up 
the whole game." 

Simon beat the air in impotent rage. " It's 
all your fault," he said. " You and your 
rotten plan." 

" Don't make a row," said Palliser. " A 
hundred and fifty is better than nothing. Will 
you plav fair ? " 

igiiizedbyLnGOgle 



Simon threw back his head.' "Fair!" 
he exclaimed. " Fair ! You're a nice one to 
talk about fair." 

At this juncture Lord Louis, carrying the 
cemented plate, re-entered the room. 

" Well, gentlemen," said he, " what de- 
cision have you arrived at ? " 

" To accept the offer," said Palliser. 

" Are you agreeable to that course, Mr. 
Caleb ? " said Lord Louis, turning to Simon. 

" I suppose so," growled that gentleman, 
upon whom Lord Louis' aphorisms on the 
subject of self-control had failed to make an 
impression. 

" Capital," said Lord Louis. " We will 
now proceed with our next inquiry." 

Palliser looked up quickly. " Next ? " he 
queried. 

" That is what I said," remarked Lord Louis. 
" Here I have the plate. You will see that, 
to the best of my ability, I have reassembled 
the broken pieces. Pray observe there is not 
a single splinter missing." 

" It is marvellous how well your lordship 
has done the job," said Palliser, with an effort 
to appear appreciative. 

Lord Louis smiled. " I am grateful for 
your good opinion," he said. " Now, gentle-" 
men, it is here that I am in need of your 
advice. How comes it, since the plate is, in a 
sense, intact, that I find myself with a piece 
still left over ? " 

Simon swallowed heavily. • f< Can't say 
that I follow your lordship's meaning," 
said he. 

Drawing from his pocket the fragment of 
china which had fallen into his trouser-leg, 
Lord Louis placed it before them. 

" There ! " said he. " I found this in the 
cuff of my trousers. It was not there when 
I entered your shop, for my clothes are care- 
fully brushed in every part, but it was there 
soon afterwards. I think your imaginations 
will supply you with the circumstances which 
caused this piece of very indifferent Japanese 
to have arrived where I have indicated. I am 
also of the opinion that you could offer an 
excellent reason for the existence of this morsel 
of white wax on the underside of the rim, 
with the catgut attachment." 

Palliser stooped and busied himself with his 
bootlaces. Simon rose and walked unsteadily 
towards the window. 

" I await your explanation," said Lord 
Louis ; then, as no answer came, he struck the 
table a heavy blow. With a fine disregard for 
trivialities he made no effort to stem the tide 
of ink which, as a result of his violence, flowed 
from thefij^^fjtj^l fft^m 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



EGG-S1LHLL. 



29 



M Your silence condemns you," he said. " You 
stand accused of a fraud both base and despic- 
able. Such conduct cannot go unpunished, 1 
have derided to act in the following way." 

With inexorable justice Lord Louis com- 
manded that each of the dealers should pay 
to the old lady from whom the plate had been 



adding, if Here is the sixpence winch you paid 
to my late domestic's aunt, and I now consider 
myself relieved of all further liability in the 
matter/' 

There is but little more to narrate. The 
essence of attack being in surprise, Lord Louis' 
bombshell completely routed the two dealers, 
who, after accepting his terms, 
made their retreat with all avail- 
able speed. Without a word 
having passed between them they 
took the road leading towards 
[|.r -u-|,c -nsion -bridge, and it was 
not until they had reached the 
dead centre of this interesting 
structure that the full blast of 
their feeling found expression. 
The fight itself was more 







THE FULL BLAST OF THEIR FEELING 1'OUXD EXPRESSION. 



obtained a sum of fifty pounds. Pal User's 
potest that he had no money was waved 
b, Lord Louis reminded him that he 
himself indebted to Palliscr for much 
ut that sum. This he proposed to pay, in 
ion, to Ann Winter's aunt. Failing im- 
it obedience he would place the matter 
'-ivith in the hands of the police, 

hough but little versed in the law/ 1 
JLiderl L^>rd I^ouis, '* I am confident you 
l l both inert witha^ \cr- sentence " : 

dbyL-OOgie 



a 

v- 
it 

P 

I 

f 

< 
\ 



remarkable for its intensity than for any 
particular exhibition of skill. 

In answer to the magistrates* inquiry the 
toll-keeper was unable to state which of 
the two combatants was the aggressor. The 
desire to kill appeared to be equally distri- 
buted. Other witnesses declared that had 
thy parapet of the bridge been a few inches 
lower neither of the twain would have been 
alive to attend the court proceedings which 
occurred on ftri£fflBFft0lll u y 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 




THE MATCH: 

TO-DAY AND YESTERDAY. 

By STACY AUMONIER. 

Illustrated by J. H. Thorpe. 




T is all so incredibly long ago 
that you must not ask me to 
remember the scores, In fact , 
even of the result I am a little 
dubious. 

I only know that it was on 
just such a day as this that we 
were all mooning round Bunty Cartwrighfs 
garden after breakfast, smoking and watching 
the great bumble-bees hanging heavily on the 
flowers, Along the flagged pathway to the 
house were standard rose- trees, whose blos- 
soms and perfume excited one pleasantly. It 
was jolly to he in flannels, and to feel the sun 
on one's skin, for the day promised to be hot, 
I remember that for years it had been a 
tradition for Bunty to ask us all down for 

Digits )OQle 



the week. There were usually eight or nine 
of us, and we made up our team with the 
doctor and his son^ and one or two other odils 
and ends of chaps in the neighbourhood* I 
know that on this day he had secured the 
services of Daw kin, a very fast bowler from 
a town near by, for Celminster, the team we 
were to play, were reputed to be a very hot 
lot. 

As we stood there laughing and talking 
(and Bunty and Tony Peebles were sitting 
within the stone porch, I remember, trying to 
finish a game of chess started the previous 
evening), there was the crunch of wheels on 
the road and the brake arrived, accompanied 
by the doctor's son, a thin slip of a boy, on a 
bicycle, Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE MATCH. 



31 



I 







Then there was the usual bustle of putting 
up cricket- bags and going back for things one 
had forgot ten } and the inevitable l< chipping J7 
of ** Togs/ 3 a boy whose real name I have 
forgotten but who was always last in every- 
thing, even in the order of going in. It must 
have been fully half an hour before we made 
a start , and then the doctor hadn't arrived, 
However , he came up at the last minute, his 
jolly red face beaming and perspiring. Some 
of the chaps cycled and soon left us behind, 
but I think we were seven on the brake. It 
was good to be high up and to feel the wind 
blowing gently on our faces from the sea. We 
passed villages of amazing beauty nestling 
in the hollow of the downs, and rumbled on 
our way to the accompaniment of lowing 
sheep, and the doctor's rich burring voice 
talking of cricket, and the song o£ the lark 
overhead who sang in praise of this day of 
festival- 
It was good to laugh and talk and to watch 
the white ribbon of the road stretching far 
ahead, then dipping behind a stretch of 
woodland. It was good to feel the thrill 
of excited anticipation as we approached 
the outskirts of Celminster. What sort of 
ground would it be ? What were their 
bowlers like ? Who would come off for m ? 

It was good to see the grinning friendly 
faces of the villagers, and to climb down from 
the brake, and to nod in that curiously self- 
conscious way we have as a race to our 
opponents, and then to survey the field* 
And is there in the whole of England a more 
beautiful place than the Cchninstcr cricket- 
ground ? 
On one side is a clump of buildings 



byCiC 



dominated by the straggling 
yards and outhouses belong- 
ing to the Bull Inn. On the 
farther side is a fence , and 
just beyond a stream bordered 
by young willows. At right 
angles to the inn is a thick 
cluster of elms- a small wood, 
in fact — while on the fourth 
side a low grey stone wall 
separates the field from the 
road. Across the road may 
be seen the spire of a church, 
the fabric hidden by the trees, 
and away beyond the downs 
quiver in the sunlight. 

In the corner of the field 
is a rough pavilion faced with 
half - timber, and a white 
flagstaff with the colours of 
the Celminster Cricket Club 
fluttering at its summit. 

Members of the Cclminster Club were 
practising in Httfe knots about the field, and 
a crowd of small boys w r ere sitting on a long 
wooden bench, shouting indescribably, and 
some were playing mock games with sticks 
and rubber balls. A few aged inhabitants 
looked at us with lazy interest and touched 
their hats. 

A little man with a square chin and an 
auburn moustache came out and grinned at 
us and asked for li Mr. Cartwright.- J We 
discovered that he was the local wheelwright 
and the Celminster captain. He showed us 
our room in the pavilion and called Bunty 
" sir." Of course, Bunty lost the toss, He 
always did during that weekj and this led 
to considerably more i£ chipping/' and we 
turned out to field. 

One who has not experienced it can never 
appreciate the tense joy of a cricketer when 
he comes out to commence a match : the 
gaiety of the morning when the light is at its 
best and all one's senses are alert, the glorious 
freedom of being in flannels and feeling the 
air on one's skin, the sense of being among 
splendid deeds that are yet unborn. And then 
the jolly red ball ! How we love to clutch 
it with a sort of romantic exultation and toss 
it to each other ! For it is upon it that the 
story of the day will turn. It is the scarlet 
symbol of our well-ordered adventure, as 
yet untouched and virginal, and yet strangely 
pregnant of unaccomplished actions. What 
story will it have to tell when the day is done ? 
Who will drop catches with it ? Who destroy 
its virgin loveliness with a fearful drive 
against the stone wall ? 

Original from 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



32 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 





" HOW WE LOVE TO CLUTCH IT WITH A SORT 

OF ROMANTIC EXULTATION AND TOSS FT TO 

EACH OTHER." 

As I have stated, it happened all so long 
ago that I cannot clearly remember many 
of the details of that match, but, curiously 
enough, I very vividly remember the first 
over that Dawkin sent down. 

A very tall man came in to bat. The 
first ball he played straight back to the 
bowler, the 
second was a 
" yorker " and 
just missed h i s 
wicket, the third 
he drove hard to 
mid-off and 
Bunty stopped 
it, the fourth he 
stopped with hi$ 
pads, the fifth he 
played back to 
the bowler again, 
and the sixth 
knocked his leg 
stump clean out 
of the ground. 

One wicket for 
no runs! We 
flung the scarlet 
symbol back- 
wards and for- 
wards in a great 
state of excite- 



ment, with visions of a 
freak match, the whole 
side of our opponents 
being out for ten runs, 
and so on. I remem- 
ber the glum face of 
_^ their umpire, a genial 

^4£^ corn-merchant, dressed 
\ in a white co^t an( j a 

bowler hat, ^it-^ a 
bewildering number oi 
sweaters tied round his neck, glancing 
apprehensively at the pavilion. I remember 
that the next man in was the little wheel- 
wright, and he looked very solemn and tense. 
The first three balls missed his wicket by 
inches, then he stopped them. My recol- 
lection of the rest of that morning was a 
vision of the little wheelwright, with his chin 
thrust forward, frowning at the bowlers. He 
had a peculiarly uncomfortable stance at the 
wicket, but he played very straight. TT 3 
kept Dawkin out for about five over - ii 
he started pulling him round to leg. lhe 
wicket was rather fiery and Dawkin was very 
fast. The wheelwright was hit three times on 
the thigh, twice on the chest, and numberless 
times on the arms, and one ball got up and 
glanced off his scalp. But he did not waver. 
He plodded on, lying in wait for the short 
ball to hook to leg. I do not remember how 
many he made, but it was a great innings. 
He took the heart out of Dawkin, and 
encouraged one or two of the others to hit 
with courage. He was caught at last by a 




r THE SIXTH KNOCKED HIS LEG STUMP I'MJnW? OF THE GROUND.' 

*^" UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE MATCH, 



33 



it catch by Arthur Booth running in 
long leg. 
ne advantage of a village team like 
:Iminster is that they have no " tail," or, 
\ that you never know what the tail 
il do. You know they have a tail by the 
ctetume, for the first four or five batsmen 
Uppear in complete 
wtfi ts of white 
itannels and 
tcrs, and then 
costumes start 
trying in a 
wonderful degree. 
Number six appears 
in a black waistcoat 
with white flannel 
trousers ; number 
seven with brown 
pads and black 
hoots ; number 
eight with a blue 
and brown 
trousers, and so on 
to the last man, 
who is dressed 
uncommonly like a 
verger* But this 
tallrntando of sar- 
torial equipment 
does not in any way 
represent the run- 
getting ability of 
the team, for sud- 
denly some gentle- 
man inappropriately 
apparelled, who 
gives the impression 
of never having 
had a bat in his hand 
before, wiil lash 
tut and score 
[twenty-five runs off 
j one over. On this 
I particular occasion I remember one man who 
came in about ninth, and who wore one brown 
ad and sand-shoes, and had on a blue shirt 
ith a dicky and a collar but no tie, and who 
od right in front of hi;, wicket, looked 
? at Dawkin,and I hen hit him for two 
the roaring acconv- 
jar-r-ge ! " from the 
of small boys near the pavilion. The 
ball hit his pad, and he was given out 
He gave no expression of surprise, 
appointment, or disgust, but just walked 
jily back to the pavilion, Celminster were 
out before lunch, but I cannot let the last 
-the verger — retire (he was bowled first 




ball off his foot) before speaking of our wicket- 
keeper, Jimmy Gu Us worth, 

Jimmy Guilsworth was, in my opinion, an 
ideal wicket-keeper. He was a little chap and 
wore glasses, but his figure was solid and 
homely. He was by profession something of 
a poet, and wrote lyrics in the Celtic-twilight 

manner* He 
played cricket but 
seldom, but when 
he did he was in- 
stinctively made 
wicket-keeper. He 
had that curious 
sympathetic 
mothering quality 
which every good 
wicket-keeper 
should have. The 
first business of a 
wicket-keeper is to 
make the opposing 
batsmen feel at 
home. When the 
man comes in 
trembling and 
nervous, the wicket- 
keeper should make 
some assuring 
remark, something 
that at once 
establishes a bond 
of understanding 
between honourable 
opponents. When 
the batsman is 
struck on the elbow 
it is the wicket- 
keeper who should 
rush up and ad- 
minister first aid or 
spiritual comfort. 
And when the bats- 
man is bowled 
say, " Hard luck, 



THEIR UMPIRE, A GENIAL CORN - ME EC HA NT, 
DRESSED IN A WHITE COAT AND A BOWLER HAT, 
WITH A BEWILDERING NUMBER OF SWEATERS 
TIED ROUND HIS NECK/' 



he should 



es, a four, and a five, to 
liment of (< Good old Ja 



&oby 



C 



or caught, 
sir!" 

At the same time it is his business to mother 
the bowlers on his own side. He must lie 
continually encouraging them and sympathiz- 
ing with them, but in a subdued voice so that 
the batsman does not hear. And, moreover, he 
must be prepared to act as chief of the staff 
to the captain. He must advise him on the 
change of bowlers and on the disposition of 
the field. All of this requires infinite tact, 
understanding, and perspicacity, 

All these qualities Jimmy Guilsworth had 
in a marked degree. If he sometimes dropped 
catches and never stood near enough to stump 
Original from 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



34 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



anyone, what was that to the sympathetic 
way he said, " Oh, hard luck, sir ! JJ to an 
opposing batsman when he was bowled by a 
slow long-hop, or the convincing way he would 
call out, " Oh, well hit, sir ! " when another 
opponent pulled a half-volley for four. What 
could have been more encouraging than the 
way he would rest his hand on young Booth's 
shoulder, after he had bowled a disappointing 
over, and say, " I say, old chap, you're in 
great form- Could you pitch J em up just a 
wee bit?" When things were going badly 
for the side Jimmy would grin and whisper 
into Cartwright's ear. Then there would be 
a consultation and a change of bowlers, or 
someone would come closer up to third man, 
and lo ! in no time something would happen* 
But it is lunch-time, In the pavilion a 
long table is set with a clean cloth and nap- 
kins and gay bowls of salad. On a side-table 
is a wonderful array of cold joints, hams, and 
pies. We sit down, talking of the game. 
Curiously enough, we do not mix with our 




" HARD LUCK, &IR 3 

opponents. We sit at one end and they 
occupy the other, but we grin at each other, 
and the men sitting at the point of contact 
of the two parties occasionally proffer a 
remark. 
Some girls appear to wait, and a fat man 

Digitized by LiOOgJC 



in shirt-sleeves who produces ale and ginger- 
beer from some mysterious comer. And what 
a lunch it is 1 Does ever veal-and-ham pi* 
taste so good as it does in the pavilion aftei 
the morning chasing a ball ? And then tart* 
and fruit and custard and a large yellow 
cheese, how splendid it all seems ! The buzz 
of conversation and the bright sun through 
the open door. Does anything lend a fullci 
flavour to the inevitable pipe than such a 
lunch, mellowed by the rough flavour of a 
pint of shandy-gaff ? 

We stroll out again into the sun and puff 
tranquilly, and some of us gather round old 
Bob Parsons , the corn-merchant , and listen 
to his panegyric of cricket as played " in the 
old days." He's seen a lot of cricket in his 
time, old Bob. His bony, weather-beaten face 
wrinkles, and his clear, ingenuous eyes blink 
at the heavens as he recalls i( Johnny Strutt, 
he was a good ? im. Aye, and ye should ha J 
seen old Tom Kennett bowl in his time — 
nine wicket he took agen^t Kailhurst— hittin* 
the wood every toime. Fast 
he were, faster 'n they bowl 
now* Fower bahls he bahl fast, 
then put up a slow/* 

He shakes his head medi- 
tatively, as though the 
contemplation of the diabolical 
cunning of bowling a slow 
ball after four fast ones were 
almost too much to believe, 
as though it were a de*- 
monstration of intellectual 
calisthenics that this genera- 
tion could not appreciate. 

It is now the turn of our 
opponents to take the field, 
whilst we eagerly scan the 
score-sheet to see the order of 
going in, and restlessly move 
about the pavilion, trying on 
pads and making efforts not to 
appear nervous. 

And with what a tense 
emotion we watch our first two 
men open the innings ! It is 
will- ?, gasp of relief we see 
jimmy Guilsworth cut a fast 
ball for two, and know at 
any rate we have made a 
more fortunate start than 
our opponents did. 

I do not remember how many runs we 
made that afternoon, though, as we were out 
about tea-time, I believe we just passed 
the Celminster total, but I remember that 
Biinty Cartwright came off. He had been 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE MATCH, 



35 



unlucky all the week, but this was his joy-day. 

He seemed cheerful and confident when he 
irent in, and he was let off on the boundary 
off the first ball I After that he did not make 
a mistake. 

It was a joy to watch Bunty bat. He was 
;ill and graceful, and he sprang to meet the 
fall like a wave scudding against a rock. He 
tfemed to epitomize the dancing sunlight, a 
-.hing of joy expressing the fullness of the 
irowded hour. His hair blew over his face, 
and one could catch the gleam of satisfaction 
that radiated from hirn as he panted on his 
hat after running out a five. 

He was not a great cricketer — none of us 
were — but he had a good eye, the heart of a 
Eon, and he loved the game. 

I believe I made eight or nine* I know I 
made a cut for four. The recollection of it 
is very keen to this day, and the satisfying 
joy of seeing the ball scudding along the 
ground a yard out of the reach of point, 
It made me very happy. And then one of 
those balls came along that one knows nothing 
about. ,How remarkable it is that a bowler 




HE SEEMS TERRIFYING AND DEMONIACAL WIIEK HE COMES 
TEARING DOWN THE CRHASE I" 



byLiOOglC 



who appears so harmless from the pavilion 
seems terrifying and demoniacal when he 
comes tearing down the crease towards you ! 
Yes, I'm sure we passed the Celminster 
total now, Cor I remember at tea-time dis- 
cussing the possibilities of winning by a single 
innings if we got Celminster out for forty. 

After tea, for some reason or other, one 
smokes cigarettes. We strolled into a yird 
at the back of the Bull Inn, and there was 
a wicket gate leading to a lawn, where some 
wonderful old men, whose language was almost 
incomprehensible, were drinking ale and play- 
ing bowls. At the side were some tail sun- 
flowers growing amidst piles of manure. 

Someone in the pavilion rang a bell, and we 
languidly returned to take the field once 
more. 

I remember that it was late in the afternoon 
that a strange thing happened to me, I was 
fielding out in the long field not thirty yards 
from the stream. Tony Peebles was bowling 
from the end where I was fielding. I noted 
his ambling run up to the wicket and the 
graceful action of his arm as he swung the 
ball across. A little 
incident happened, a 
thing trivial at the time, 
but which one afterwards 
remembers. The bats- 
man hit a ball rather 
low on the off-side, which 
the doctor's son caught 
or stopped on the 
grbund. There was an 
appeai for a catch given 
in the batsman's favour. 
But for some reason or 
other he thought the 
umpire had said " Out," 
and he started walking 
to the pavilion. He was 
at least two yards out 
of his crease when the 
doctor's son threw the 
ball to Jimmy Guils- 
worth at the wicket. 
Jimmy had the wicket at 
his mercy, but instead 
of putting it down he 
threw it back to the 
bowler* It was perhaps 
a trivial thing, but it 
epitomiseed the game we 
played, On<3 does not 
take advantage of a 
mistake. It isn't done. 
The sun was already 

beginning to flood the 
OnginaTfrorfr 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



36 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



valley with the excess of amber light which 
usually betokens his parting embrace. The 
stretch of level grass became alive and vibrant, 
tremblingly golden against the long, crisp 
shadows cast from the elms. The elms them- 
selves nodded contentedly, and down by the 
stream flickered little white patches of child- 
ren's frocks. Everything suddenly seemed to 
become more vivid and transcendent. As 
if aware of the splendour of that moment, 
all the little things struggled to express them- 
selves more actively. The birds and insects 
in solemn unison praised God, or rather, to 
my mind, at that moment, they praised 
England, the land that gave them such a 
glorious setting. 

The white-clad figures on the sunlit field, 
the smoke from the old buildings by the inn 
trailing lazily skywards, the comfortable buzz 
of the voices of some villagers lying on their 
stomachs on the grass. Ah, -my dear land ! 

I don't know how it was, but at that moment 
I felt a curious contraction of the heart, like 
one who looks inte the face of a lover who is 
going on a journey. Perhaps a townsman 
gets a little tired at the end of a day in the 
field, or the feeling may have been due to the 
Cassandra-like dirge of a flock of rooks that 
swung across the sky and settled in the elms. 

The bat, cut from a willow down by the 
stream, the stumps, the leather ball, the 
symbol of the wicket, the level lawn cut and 
rolled and true — all these things were redolent 
of the land we moved on. They spoke of the 
love of trees, and wind, and sun, and the 
equipoise of man in Nature's setting. They 
symbolized our race, slow-moving and serene, 
with a certain sensuous joy in movement, 
a love of straightness, and an indestructible 
faith in custom. Ah, that the beauty of that 
hour should fade — that the splendour and 
serenity of it all should pass away ! Strange 
waves of misgiving flooded me. 

If it should be all too slow-moving, too 
serei.c ! If at that moment the wheels of 
the Juggernaut of evolution were already on 
their way to crush the splendour of it beneath 
their weight ! 

Ah, my dear land ! If you should be in 
danger! If . one day another match should 
come, in which you would measure yourself 
against — some unknown terrors ! I was con- 
scious at that moment of a poignant sense 
of prayer that when your trial should come 
it should find you worthy of the clean sanity 
of that sunlit field, and if in the end you should 
go down, as everything in Nature does go 
down before the scythe of Time, the rooks 
up there in the elms shall cry aloud your 



epitaph. They are very old and wise, these 
rooks ; they watched the last of the Ptolemys 
pass from Egypt, they moaned above Carthage 
and Troy, and warned the Roman praetors of 
the coming of Attila. And the epitaph they 
shall make for you — for they saw the little 
incident of Jimmy Guilsworth and the doctor's 
son— shall be, " Whatever you may say of 
these English, they played the game. . . ." 

I think those small boys down by the 
pavilion made too much fuss about the catch 
I muffed. Of course I did get both hands to it, 
and as 3. matter of fact the sun was not in 
my eyes, but I think I started a bit late, and 
it seemed to be screwing horribly. Ironical 
jeers are not comforting. Bunty, like the 
dear, good sportsman he is, merely called out, 
" Dreaming there ? " 

But it was a wretched moment. I remember 
slinking across at the over, feeling like an 
animal that has contracted a disease and is 
ashamed to be seen, and my mental con- 
dition was by no means improved by the 
cheap sarcasms of young Booth or Eric 
Ganton. We did not get Celminster out for 
the second time, and the certainty that the 
result would not be affected by the second 
innings led to the introduction of strange 
and unlikely bowlers being put on and given 
their chance. I remember that just at the 
end of the day even young " Togs " was tried. 
He sent down three most extraordinary balls 
that went nowhere within reach of the bats- 
man, the fourth was a full pitch, and a young 
rustic giant who was then batting promptly 
hit it right over the pavilion. 

The next ball was very short and came 
on the leg-side. I was fielding at short leg 
and I saw the batsman hunching his shoulders 
for a fearful swipe. I felt in a horrible funk. 
I heard the loud crack of the ball on the 
willow and I was aware of it coming 
straight at my head. I fell back in an 
ineffectual sort of manner and despairingly 
threw up my hands in self-defence. And 
then an amazing thing happened. The ball 
went bang into my left hand and stopped 
there. I slipped and fell, but somehow I 
managed to hang on to the ball. I remember 
hearing a loud shout, and suddenly the pain 
of impact vanished in the realization that I 
had brought off a hot catch. It was a golden 
moment. The match was over. I remember 
all our chaps shouting and laughing, and 
young " Togs " rushing up and throwing 
his arms round me in a mock embrace. We 
ambled back to the pavilion, and it suddenly 
struck me how good-looking most of our men 
were, even Tony Peebles, whom I had always 



by V_ 



iL 



IC 



UIIIQI I I '.' I I I 



UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



r 



THE MATCH, 



37 



looked upon as the plainest of the plain* 
My heart warmed towards Bunty with a 
pissbnate zest when he struck me on the 
hark and said, ** Good man ! You've more 
than retrieved your muff in the long field," 

I know they ragged me frightfully in the 
pavilion when we were changing, but it was 
no effort to take it good -humou redly. I felt 
ridiculously proud. 

We took a long time getting away. There 
*as so much rubbing down and talking to be 
done, and then there was the difficulty of 
getting Len Booth out of the Bull Inn. He 
had a romantic passion for drinking ale with 
the yokels, and a boy had stuck a pin into one 
of Canton's tyres, and he had to find a bicycle 
shop and pet it mended. It was getting dark 
when we all eventually got established once 
more in the brake. 

I remember vividly turning the* corner 
in the High Street and looking back on the 
solemn profile of the inn. The sky was almost 
colourless, just a glow of warmth, and already 
in some of the windows lamps were appear- 
ing* We huddled together contentedly in 
the brake, and I saw the firm lines of Bunty's 
face as he leaned over a match, lighting his 
pipe. . . . 

The grass is long to-day in the field where 
we pkyed Celminster, and down by the stream 
ate two square, unattractive buildings covered 
hy zinc roofing, where is heard the dull roar 
of machinery. The ravages of Time cannot 
eradicate from my memory the vision of 



Bunty's face leaning over his pipe, or the 
pleasant buzz of the village voices as we 
clattered amongst them in the High Street, 
or the sight of the old corn-merchant's lace as 
he came up and spoke to Bunty (Bunty had 
stopped the brake to get more tobacco), and 
touched his hat and said : — 

" Good-noight, sir, and good luck to"'ee ! " 

Decades have passed, and I have to press 
the spring of my memory to bring these 
things back, but when they come they are 
very dear to me. 

I know that in the wind that blows above 
Gallipoli you will find the whispers of the 
great Faith that Bunty died for ! Eric 
Gan ton, young Booth, and Jimmy Gui Is worth, 
where are they ? In vain the soil of 
Flanders strives to clog the free spirit of 
my friends, 

" Good-notght, sir, and good luck to *ee ! ** 

Again I see the old man's face as I gaze 
across the field where the long grass grows, 
and I see the red hall tossed hither and thither, 
with its story still unfinished, and I hear the 
sound of Jimmy's voice : — 

* l Oh, well hit, sir ! " as he encourages an 
opponent. 

The times have changed since then, but 
you cannot destroy these things. Manners 
have changed, customs have changed, even 
the faces of men have changed ; and yet this 
calendar on my knee is trying to tell me that 
it all happened two years ago la-day ! 

And overhead the garrulous rooks seem 
strangely flustered. 




by Google 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



C 4 



CARROTS." 

By B. PAUL NEUMAN. 

I Hits t rated by Alfred Leete, 




t 

OME in ! v Charles Lang- 
ridge called out j in his usual 
weak, worried voice* 

The door burst open, and 
a small but fierce-looking 
] page-boy burst in. 

" Wickens," remonstrated 
the young man, with extreme mildness, " how 
often have I begged you " 

hi Beg pardon, sir. Very sorry, sir. Gentle* 
man, sir " 

Before Wickens could finish his sentence 
he was swept aside by a young khaki-clad 
officer. 

44 Halloa , Charlie, my boy ! " shouted the 
intruder. " Fvc found you, then, after all. 
What a piece of luck ! If I hadn't caught 
sight of you yesterday turning in here, I 
should never have run you down. I was in 
a taxi, too, but I spotted that little stoop, 
and the walk, and all. ( That's Cockie Lang- 
ridge, or I'm a Dutchman/ I said to myself. 
Dear old Cockie ! Waggle fins." 

By this time Langridge was on his legs, 
and the two young men shook hands heartily. 
They were a striking contrast. The visitor 
was tall and broad , tanned by sun and wind, 
and evidently fit to run for his life. His 
features were regular and pleasing, and he 
had a roguish eye. 

Langridge, on the other hand, was a slight, 
fair, decidedly good-looking young fellow, but 
with a nervous, diffident air and a melancholy 
expression. The room was large and hand- 
somely furnished- The open piano with a 
volume of Beethoven on the stand, the water- 
colours and etchings on the walls, and the 
Ivooks on the shelves and lying about on the 
tables, all bore witness to the occupier's refine- 
ment and good taste. 

" My dear Rupert/' he said, " I'm very 
glad to see you, I am indeed* 31 

The words were cordial, and so was the 
smile that accompanied them, yet the 
speaker seemed slightly embarrassed and ill 
at ease. 



by Google 



"I'm sure you are/ 1 answered the other, 
" though I can't say. you look it. May I sit 
down ? n 

" Oh, of course,'* said Charles, quite 
flustered* " I'm sure I beg your pardon/* 

il Now tell me all the news/* demanded 
Captain Rupert Hey gill. u Where the dickens 
have you been hiding all these ages, and 
why ? n 

Charles Langridge sat down and leaned 
back in his chair, and his expression became 
at once more natural and even more melan- 
choly. 

IS I've been hiding — just here/ 5 he answered, 
lC and you know the reason quite well/' 

" No, I'm hanged if I do," exclaimed 
Rupert, loudly. Then, as if something had 
suddenly occurred to him, he hesitated, and 
the boisterous cheerfulness died out of his 
voice. ** You never mean to say that that old 
trouble made you keep to yourself all this 
time ? " 

" Old trouble ! Jl repeated the other, bitterly, 
and as he spoke he rose and began to pace up 
and down the room. (i Do you think one 
forgets that kind of disgrace in five minutes ? 
My father was a bankrupt. Do you know 
what dividend he paid ? Do you know what 
they said in the papers? I've got them all 
here." He pointed to a drawer in the writing- 
table. 

By this time Rupert had recovered himself . 

" No, of course I don't know all that/ 1 he 
replied. " And equally of course I don't 
care* I have a sort of general impression 
that the old gentleman came a bit of a cropper, 
but I remember he used to tip me like a 
Briton, and that's good enough for me* 
Besides, you're not responsible for him." 

The gloom deepened on Charles's face, 

H 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and 
the children's teeth are set on edge/ " he 
quoted, solemnly. 

Rupert looked a little ashamed of himself, 

11 Say that again, will you ? " he asked. 
i£ I haven't read a line of Shakespeare since 
1 left school. What was it ? " 
Original from 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



" CARROTS." 



39 



"Oh, never mind/' answered Charles, 
impatiently. " Tell me about yourself." 

But the young officer had been looking 
round the room. 

" I say, Cockie," he remarked, " this doesn't 
look much like bankruptcy." 
1 " Oh, that's Aunt Susan's doing. She 
left me a pot of money." 

" That's the sort ! " cried Rupert, enthu- 
siastically. " I only wish we'd got one or 
two Aunt Susans in our family." 

" It did make a difference," Charles 
admitted. " I was able to pay all the creditors 
in full." 

" You did ? Good old Cockie ! Then what 
the dickens is there to grouse about ? If 
Id done a sporting thing like that, I should 
want to put an advertisement in the Times." 
Charles shook his head with, resolute 
dejection. 

" Ah, you can't understand. There are 
some stains that won't wash out. If I meet 
people I used to know, I can hear them saying 

to themselves, ' His father was a ' Pah ! 

I've said the word once, and it scorches my 
tongue. Why, you're thinking it now — you 
know you are." 

"Of course I am, when you've just been 
dinning it into my ears. If you hadn't, I 
should never have given it a thought. Do 
you really mean to say you've cut all your 
old friends ? " 

" Or they've cut me. It isn't only — what 
I've just told you. Apart from that, I'm not 
fit 'for society. I'm nervous, and shy, and 
awkward. I'm miserable myself, and I make 
other people miserable. Why, even King 
George wouldn't have me. He said one knee 
didn't come up to sample, so I wasn't worth 
l wo-and-ninepence . ' ' 
Rupert looked serious. 
" Poor old chap ! " he exclaimed, sym- 
pathetically. " That was beastly rough. But 
•ook here," he went on, more briskly, " all 
that about not being fit for society is pure 
Piffle. The fact is, you've been coddling your- 
self, and you've caught a bad cold in the 
c haracter. What you want to do is to throw 
the doors wide open, walk out, slap every 
Johnny you meet on the back, and talk to 
ev erv pretty girl. Have you really no 
friends ? " 
" None," answered Charles, gloomily. 
There's not a soul comes here from week's 
end to week's end. Ask Wickens." 

" Oh, no," said his friend. " Your word's 
Quite good enough, backed, as it is, by your 
g&y and festive countenance. Well, I'm jolly 
glad I've found you, Cockie, for I'm off to 



by Google 



somewhere in somew r here next week, and one 
never knows what may happen." 

Something in his visitor's voice touched 
Charles. 

" Dear old Rupe ! " he exclaimed. " I am 
glad to see you." 

" Halloa ! That's a sneeze ! " cried Rupert. 
" An encouraging symptom, so a Harley Street 
fakir once told me. Now we'll have a decent 
dinner somewhere, and an evening at home, 
or shall we wind up at one of the halls ? " 

" No," answered Charles, with a sudden 
burst of energy. " Not even with you. I hate 
the ghastly mummery." 

" Oh, lor' ! That's sneeze number two. 
All right. We'll have a good gossip over our 
pipes." 

" I've given up smoking," said Charles, 
gravely. 

Rupert pulled out a fat cigarette-case. 

11 Well," he remarked, " you've got to take 
to it again for once. What's the matter ? " 

The question was suggested by the dis- 
composure that showed on Charles's face. 

'"My dear fellow," he said, nervously, 
" if you don't mind — I'm really very sorry 
— but I'd much rather you didn't smoke 
in here." 

Rupert sighed 

" Look here, Cockie," he said ; " you may 
be eccentric, but you mustn't be unreasonable. 
Here am I tethered to this chair for three 
hours at least, and you coolly ask me to 
follow your own pernicious and ridiculous 
example." 

Charles looked still more uncomfortable. 

" I wouldn't — I — I'm really most awfully 
sorry," he stammered, " but — er — well, the 
fact is, I'm expecting a visitor." 

" A visitor ! I thought hermits didn't 
go in for visitors. Is it a he or a she ? " 

Charles Langridge came to the rug and took 
up a dignified position with his back to the 
fire. He even tried to straddle, and he made 
a desperate effort to speak with ease and 
confidence. 

" Well, as a matter of fact," he said, " it 
happens to be a she." 

With a great shout of laughter Rupert 
sprang up and held out his hand. 

"Ha!ha!ha! Oh,dear! Ha!ha!ha!ha! 
Shake hands again, old sport. Why, you 
really did take me in. * Not a soul from 
week's end to week's end.' Ha ! ha ! ha ! ha ! 
ha ! You are a surprise packet, Cockie, you 
know. Is she young and pretty, or old and 
rich ? " 

Charles ignored the outstretched hand. 

" I wish you'd try to behave like a sane 
Original from 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



40 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



person/' he answered, quite tartly. " I don't 
know/' 

* l Vou dont know ! Do you know her 
name ? " 

Charles took out a letter from his breast- 
pocket and glanced at it. 

li E 203/* he read. 

Rupert looked bewildered- 

"Eh? What did you say?" he 
asked- 

" E 203/' Charles repeated. 

Captain Heygill laughed, 

11 Oh, I see ! M he exclaimed, 
11 French poodle or blue Persian, 
which is it ? " 

Langridge made no direct answer. 
He drew a chair to the fire opposite 
his visitor, and sat down. 

" Look here, Rupe/ J he began, " I 
meant to break with all the past, 
but you've taken me by storm, and 
I don't want you to think me — well, 
what I know you are thinking me. 
Mind, I don't wonder in the least, 
A man whose father " 

u Hi ! Stop that, old man; 1 
Rupert interrupted* "You're 
getting in a draught again. Go 
on with what you were saying." 

" I w T as just going to explain to 
you about this visitor.' 5, 

il Right-o ! D'you think she'd 
mind just one Sullivan ? ! * 

'' I'm afraid she might. But we can go 
into my little den over there.'* He pointed 
to a door opposite the fireplace- 

But the captain shook his head, 

u No, thanks/' he said. "I'm jolly comfy 
here, and it won't take long, will it ? ? ' 

" Not a couple of minutes. Do you know 
the Family Adviser f " 

" Mrs. Beeton, do you mean ? " 

11 No j no — the paper — this/' He walked 
across to the table, took up a file of papers, 
and sat down again, " I came across it at my 
dentist's/' 

11 That would have set me against it for 
ever/' remarked Captain Heygill. 

14 Well, there was one column that hap- 
pened to catch my eye and interested me 
tremendously. People, perfect strange rs, you 
know, lonely people, misunderstood, dis- 
appointed, disillusioned T people with secret 
troubles——" 

Rupert held up a warning finger. 

M Steady there ! " he exclaimed. " Keep 
out of the draught. I can feel it blowing," 

Charles smiled faintly. 

11 All right. Well, these people write, 




by L^OOgle 



VTKLL, AS A MATTER OF FACT, IT HAPPENS TO BE 
A SHE,'* 



describing themselves and their circum- 
stances and asking sympathetic souls to 
correspond with them. They don't give 
their names — not at first, at any rate. Just 
a letter and a number/' 

11 Oh ? I see now ! Miss E 203 is your 
sympathetic soul ? M 

" I hope so. She w F rites very sweetly/' 

li M'yes, It's a charming name. How 
did vou land her ? Have vou got the bait 
There ? " 

+( My advertisement, do you mean ? Yes, 
here it is. Shall I read it ? As you know r so 
much, you may as well know all/' 

Rupert nodded, and Charles, after a little 
hunting in the file, found the page and read 
impressively; — 

" Bachelor (28), lonely } unprepossessing in 
appearance, shy and awkward in manner, 
heavily handicapped by fatuity troubles, well-to- 
do, but unable to find satisfaction in material 
prosperity , a failure in everything he under- 
takes, rejected as recruit on account of ill- 
health. Will any young lady, brighi t pretty, 
clever, accomplished, vivacious, yet deeply 
sympathetic * 

Original from 
UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



"CARROTS." 



41 



** You do want a good lot for your two- 
pence j Cookie., don't you ? " Rupert inter- 
jected. 

" take pity on him/ 1 the reader went on, 

" and enter into correspondence / " 

*' And what'a your collar got on it ? :J 
Rupert asked. " What's vour number ? " 

d Oh, Z 99," 

** And what did E 203 say ? " 

Charles shook his head. 

u Ah, that I can't read, It's too intimate." 

iJL Ohj Cockiej for shame i At this stage, 
too ! " 

di Too sacred/* 

*' Oh, dear ! This is getting serious." 

At this moment a big grandfather's clock 
began^ chiming four. Captain Heygil! pulled 
out his watch and jumped up. 

*' By Jove ! I'd clean forgotten/' he 
exclaimed. *' I promised my sister I'd meet 
her at the corner, by four sharp. She's 
been shopping in Sloane Street, and I told her 
to get me a little souvenir for you, old chap. 
She's a daisy at the job, and I'm no good at 
alL I expect she's holding a cornmination 
service there now, I say, shall I bring her 
up ? She remembers you quite well. She 
says you used to he awfully good to her. 
She was in short frocks then ; the third— you 
know— Ethel — c Carrots ? we used to call her, 
because her hair was a bit sunsettv then. 
She's the pick of the basket now- — present 
company excepted, of course. I'll have her 
up in a jiffy." 

Again embarrassment showed on Charles 
Langridge's face. 

81 My dear Rupe ? " he said, u pray don't 
misunderstand me. Td dearly like to see her, 
but I really, honestly couldn't bear to see 
two of the old set again in a single afternoon. 
I know you must think me off my head, but 
I can't help it if you do. I really couldn't 
bear it. It's quite impossible* The moment 
she came in I should know exactly what she 
was thinking." 

" 1 can tell you exactly what she'd think 
if she heard you now. She'd think— and 
probably say — that you were a dear, thunder- 
ing old ass." 

*' I know I am a thundering ass, but we 
don't make our own ears. It's awfully good 
of you to suggest bringing her, but the pleasure 
would be too great — I couldn't bear it. 
Besides, you know, my visitor may be here 
any moment. She said between four and 
five." 

The voung officer smiled good-humoured Iv, 

w All right, Cockie," he said, " It's "a 
shame to bait you. I'll make it straight 

Digitized by G* 



with her. She's an understanding little 
cuss if you take her the right way* - Ta-ta, 
for the present. I'll be back in ten minutes." 

Charles looked greatly relieved. 

i( Thanks awfully. If you do say anything 
about me ? put it as nicely as ever you can, I 
remember her perfectly now, I used to think 
her the j oiliest schoolgirl Yd e%'er met. And 
Rupe ? if my visitor should be here when you 
come back, you won't mind going straight 
into that little den of mine, will you ? 
Wickensll show you— I'll tell him. 'You 
can smoke in there to your heart's content." 

" Right you are," said Rupert, as he 
opened the door. " Good luck with Miss E, 
et cetera,*' 

II. 

Left to himself, Charles Langridge again 
unfolded his precious letter and re-read it. 
Over certain 
passages h e 
lingered, 

8 Your letter 
has been a 
revelation to me 
of the true f deep f 
af f ectionate 
man-heart* It 
needs the faith- 
ful j sympathetic 
woman-heart to 
compliment it" 

He looked 
up with a 
smile. 

"That 'i 1 is 
a funny little 
slip, and yet I 
dare say the 
stat ement's 
true as it 
stands." 

" The written 
word is cold and 
dead, I feel that 
if we speak with 
one another we 
shall touch a 
deeper depth" 

" That's not 
exactly what 
she meant to 
say," he com- 
mented, " but how divinely naive and girl- 
like ! I can fancy her dark and slim, pensive 
and gentle. I feel that I should have no 
difficulty in telling her the accursed secret 

that has poisoned my life." 
Original from 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




OVER CERTAIN PASSAGES 
HE LINGERED." 



<p 



THE STRAXD MAGAZINE. 



He kissed the letter and replaced it in his 
pocket* Then he walked round the room, 
tidying it with finicking carefulness. He paused 
at the mirror in the overmantel to smooth his 
hair and adjust his tie. After which he rang 
the bell. 

W tokens answered with his usual ferocious 
abruptness, and this time his master was too 
much preoccupied to utter his wonted 
protest, 

tl Listen to me, Wickens, 1 ' he said, " and 
pay attention* I am expecting a visitor." 

** Another visitor, sir I " exclaimed the boy, 
in great astonishment. 

41 Yes, another visitor—a lady this time. 
Don't ask her name, but just show her in ; 
say, ' A lady to see you, sir.' And when 
that gentleman who has just gone comes back. 




'*BIR + Z 99, I THINK?* SHE SAID." 



by Google 



as he will soon, show him into the small room* 
Bring in one tray here and take another in 
there for Captain Langridge— that's the 
gentleman's name. Do you quite understand, 
Wickens ? " 

" Yes, sir/' answered the boy. " You and 
lady here* Captain in there. Two trays." 

At that moment the outer bell rang and 
Wickens vanished. Charles had just time 
to pull himself together, sit down at his 
writing-table, and take up a book when the 
door opened, and Wickens announced, " The 
lady, sir." 

Charles rose and came forward in haste 
to meet his visitor. He saw in a flash that 
she was quite young, beautifully dressed, 
and extremely pretty, though not quite in 
the way he had pictured her. He was really 
an exceedingly susceptible young man, and 
as he looked at her he felt that now he under- 
stood the meaning of love at first sight, 

She came to meet him with a friendly 
smile and her hand stretched out. 

" Mr, Z 99, I think ? SJ she said, and they 
shook hands, 

" Yes," he answered, and immediately 
added, fl How good it is of you to honour me 
with this call ! " 

" Oh, that's nothing," she answered, as 
she sat down in the chair Captain Heygill 
had occupied a few minutes before. " You 
send out a sort of S.O.S. message. My wire- 
less picks it up. Then I get up steam, and — 
here I am." 

For a moment a sudden wave ot happiness 
had carried Charles off his feet. Now, m the 
nick of time, he remembered his r die. 

" Just as I am ready to sink," he sighed, 

" Up come the boats/* she answered, 
briskly. 

" A minute too late ! " The sigh had 
become a groan. 

" Rot ! " she exclaimed, energetically. 

He could hardly believe his ears, 

" Eh ? I beg your pardon." 

M I said * rot ' ! ,J Her voice was clear as a 
bell, but there was no hardness in it, only a 
cheery note that thrilled him in spite of his 
resolute depression, Still, he felt bound to 
protest. 

11 But really " he began. She gave him 

no quarter. 

" Well, isn't it/ " she interrupted. " Here 
are you, rolling in money, dressed up to the 
nines, with every luxury that can spoil your 
digestion and ruin your wind, hugging ?. ridi- 
culous imaginary trouble, and within • stone's 
throw there are scores of people wrung by 
real sorrows, tortured by real anxieties, and 
Original from 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN . 



"CARROTS." 



43 



yet going about with brave hearts and cheer- 
ful faces, doing their duty and helping their 
neighbours. Oh I I've no patience with you !'" 

In spite of the uncompromising words, 
she ended with a glint of fun in her eyes— 
partly, perhaps, at her own vehemence, 
partly at the rapid changes of emotion 
visible on Charles's face — astonishment, 
indignation j admiration, deprecation. The 
last was most in evidence as he began to defend 
himself. 

i£ But, rny dear friend, if I may call you so, 
you're rather hard on me. Within a stoned 
throw there are scores of homes far more 
luxurious than this little flat. I'm a most 
abstemious man, I really am. I live mainly 
on grape nuts, pine kernels, green vegetables, 
and protose. I've given up smoking. I've 
certainly put on my best clothes, but" — he 
smiled — t( only to be rescued in. As for " 

Again she interrupted him, 

** I say, I was a bit frothy just now," she 
admitted. "I'm sorry, and apologize. You're 
not half so had as I thought you*" 

Charles looked, as he felt, absurdly pleased* 

M It's very kind of you to put it like that," 
he said. " I wonder what has made you 
change your opinion ? 7J 

" Why, you've got some fun in you. The 
only hopeless characters are the people who 
can't see a joke. Now about the mysterious 
troubles, I know you're dying to tell me the 
secret, and, of course, I'm dying to hear it,' 1 

He looked a little apprehensive. 

*' You said " — he laid a slight emphasis on 
the word — " when you wrote, that your heart 
was overflowing with sympathy," 

11 So it is," she declared, u Sympathy's 
my long suit." 

The young man's face lengthened again, 
and his voice grew solemn, 

41 Well/' he began, l( you remember the text, 
* The fathers have eaten sour grapes ■' ? n 

She cut his quotation in half. 

li Yes," she answered, " and Jeremiah says 
that's all wrong." 

11 Does he ? " asked Charles, helplessly. 

"'Of course he does. You can't have me 
there- We had to do Jeremiah for the Senior 
Oxford." 

Before Charles could make any reply, 
Wickens appeared f carrying a big tray laden 
with tea, sandwiches, cakes, meringues, 
and other deadly dainties. The moment he 
had left the room, the visitor jumped up and 
ran to the table where he had placed them. 

M Oh, this fa sweet of you, 99!" she ex- 
claimed, " I was simply famishing* Merin- 
gues, too, and eclairs I How absolutely 




Jay LiOOglC 



" WICKENS APPEARED, CARRYING A BIG TRAY 
LADEN WITH TEA," 

ripping ! But, I say, where are your grape 
nuts ? Aren't you going to have anything ? " 

"Ah, but this is a very special occasion," 
answered Charles, with a smile. 

He poured out a cup of tea and moved the 
table close to her. 

"Will you begin with a sandwich?" he 
asked. 

lt No, thanks. 1 think I'll start with a 
meringue, and work backwards* Is this the 
room where you read Jeremiah and write 
your advertisements ? " 

" No," he replied. " This is my company 
room. There is my little den." He pointed 
to the door opposite. 

'* Is it presentable ? " 

" Not very tidy, I'm afraid. There's 
generally a litter of books, papers, and letters." 

" Jeremiah, the Family Adviser, and letters 
of sympathy? " 

" Yours;' he assured her, " is the first letter 
of sympathy I've ever had, and the only one 
I have kept. It is always here/' he added, 
tapping his breast. 

£1 I see — chest protector* Well, don't you 
think we should be more comfv in there ? 
Original from 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



44 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



I could no more be sympathetic in here than 
in one of Maple's show-rooms." 

" By all means/ 1 he said, with something 
more than alacrity, " You must excuse a 
bachelor's untidiness*" 

" You needn't worry about that/ 1 she 
replied, u I've got brothers." 

A sudden thought occurred to Charles, 
Rupert might have returned. He opened 
the door and looked in, 

11 Coast clear ? " she asked., with a smile. 

e< It looks a bit littery/' he answered, 
taking up the tray. u Shall I lead the way ? " 

" Secrets and sympathy, meringues and 
eclairs. This is a day out ! " she exclaimed } 
as she followed* 

III, 

When Captain Heygill returned to the flat, 
Wickens ushered him into the big room again* 

" Please, sir," the boy said; " master is in 
the little room with a visitor. I'll bring in 
some tea in a minute," 

* ( Has anyone called besides the lady that's 
with Mr. Langridge now ? " Rupert inquired. 

" No, sir." 

" Well, I'm expecting a lady to call here 
any minute now — — " 

As he spoke the outer bell rang, 

m Talk of an angel/ 1 he muttered, and walked 
out into the hall behind Wickens, who opened 
the door. 

A lady stood on the threshold. Rupert 
stepped forward. 



" All right/' he said to Wickens. " Bring 




OH, THIS IS SWEET OF YOU, 99 - ' ^HK EXCLAIMED 



FAMISHING.' 



m the tea as soon as you can/ 7 Then he 
turned to the visitor. 

" Miss E 203, I presume/* he said, holding 
out his hand, with an affable smile. 

She took his hand and summoned an 
answering smile, but beneath it lay doubt and 
suspicion. 

He led the way into the room, closed the 
door, and begged her to be seated. She 
sank into an easy chair with a little sigh of 
relief that did not escape him, as he watched 
her attentively though unobtrusively. 

She was short, stout, and would never, he 
felt sure j see forty again. She might once 
have been good-looking t but the features were 
a little coarse, and the complexion looked 
unwholesome in spite — or because — of the 
powder that had been rather unskilfully 
applied, But there were indications of 
energy in the dark; restless eyes that seemed 
to be taking stock of everything in the room, 
** We might drop that nonsense now, don't 
you think, Mr. Langridge P ■" she began, 
abruptly, " Your name's outside, you know. 
My name is Ferrers — Evelina Ferrers. I 
didn't expect to see you in khaki. I thought 
you said you had been rejected. " 

Her voice was rather pleasant, but she 
spoke with curious deliberation, as if on 
constant guard, 

" I managed to pass, after all/' he replied. 

" You are not in the least like what I 

expected to find you/' she went on, "I do 

not think you 
described yourself 
at all fairly. I 
hope you have not 
been trying to take 
a rise out of me* 
You might not 
find it so very 
amusing after all, 
you know," 

The menace in 
her tone was plain, 
but Rupert ignored 
it j and answered 
very smoothly : — 
" My dear Miss 
Ferrers, I was 
never more serious 
in my life. Cir- 
cumstances alter 
faces as well as 
cases." 

Unconsciously 
his eyes were on 
the unfortunate 



i was simply 



byCiGOgle 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



"CARROTS," 



45 



powder-patches. She felt the scrutiny, and, 
opening her bag, took out a lace-edged 
handkerchief and made furtive little dabs 
at her cheeks, Her voice was sharper as she 
demanded : — 

11 And what do you mean by ikat, sir ? y * 

He still chose the soft answer. 

" I only mean that going into the Army has 
bucked me up a 
lot. Losing my 
money seems a 
trifle now." 

Just then 
Wickens burst 
into the room with 
another of his pro- 
digious trays. A 
kindlier gleam lit 
the visitor's eyes 
as they Tested on it. 
But the moment 
the door was closed 
she returned to 
business. 

" Losing your 
money, did vou 
say ? M 

M Yes, Didn't I 
tell you of my 
losses, in my last 
letter? But, 
there, what does it 
matter? I couldn't 
have taken this flat 
over to France, 
could I ? And now 
it doesn't belong 
to me. Ah, well, 
if 1 come hack, I 
shall be able to 
get some sort 
of berth in the 
City." 

"Then you 
don't want any 
sympathy ? " 

14 On the contrary, I think I want it more 
than ever, don't you ? " 

'• Do you say you are going to France ? 
When ? " she snapped, 

" In two or three days." 

The barometer was falling and the tem- 
perature was rising. The woman J s face began 
to twitch unpleasantly, and her fingers worked 
hard on the arms of the chair. When she 
spoke again her voice was shrill and alt the 
deliberation had gone. 

'* And you've let me come traipsing over 
here all the way from Camden Town on a 

Cooole 




' * IMPUDENCE ! ' SHE CRIED, AND SLAPPED HIS 
FACE," 



fool's errand ? Do you know what you 
are ? You're a beast and a cad ! " And the 
tears began to roll down her raddled cheeks, 
Lt Most men are, now and again," said 
Rupert, his voire changed too. He poured 
out a cup of tea, and brought it to her with a 
plate of cakes. 
11 There, Miss Ferrers," he went on; "I'm 

awfully sorry you 
should have come 
such a long way. 
A cup of tea'll do 
you all the good in 
the world, And do 
take a meringue/* 
She took the 
tea, but rejected 
the meringue. 

"Not that 
muck," she said. 
** Give me some of 
those sandwiches 
—three or four, 
I tell you I'm 
hungry, I've 
walked all the 
way to save the 
fare, and I've 
wasted one -eleven- 
three on these 
gloves. You ought 
to be ashamed of 
yourself I " 

*' I'm beginning 
to be/' Rupert 
answered. ki Look 
here; Miss Feirers, 
you're a business 
woman, I can see. 
Tell me straight 
out what you 
reckon would have 
made it worth 
your while to come 
over from Camden 
Town," 
face and her voice 



The expression of her 
changed as if by magic. 

" Ah, now 'you're talking," she said. 
" Make it a fiver, and 111 say you're a 
gentleman,' 1 

Captain Heygill took out a pocket-book and 
drew from it a note, which he handed to her. 

i( There's a tenner," he said, " with Cliark'.s 
Langridge's apologies." 

She stood up and put down her cup, looked 
carefully at the note, and placed it in her 
bag. Then she looked up at the tall young 



soldier, 



Original from 
UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



4 6 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



44 Thank you, sir. You've been telling me 
a parcel of lies, and you're up to some Hanky- 
panky that I don't understand, but you're a 
gentleman. I don't mind telling you now 
that I expected to find you a skinny, doddering 
little freak. You're not that, whatever you 
are. I suppose you want to be rid of me now. 
Good-bye. I like the look of you, young 
man." 

She held out her hand, and, as he took it, 
she lifted her face. 

" You can have one if you like/' she said. 

Rupert laughed. 

44 No, thank you, Evelina," he replied. 
" You mustn't get into a temper, but I don't 
quite like the way you put the powder on." 

" Impudence ! " she cried, and slapped his 
face. At the door she turned. " Good luck 
to you all the same ! " 

" Good-bye," he answered, rubbing his 
cheek. " I'm very glad we haven't quar- 
relled." 

IV. 

The first thing Captain Rupert Heygill did on 
finding himself again in the big room alone was 
to take a cup of tea and a fair number of extras. 
Next he lighted a cigarette, walked on tip- 
toe to the door leading to what Charles had 
called his " den," opened it very gently, and 
set it well ajar. Then he retired to the middle 
of the room. 

Immediately he heard the sound of two 
voices engaged in what was evidently a 
spirited and friendly conversation punctuated 
with laughter. He smiled in great content. 
" Halloa ! Sympathy seems to be working 
well," he said to himself. 

for a moment he hesitated. Then he 
gave a huge and noisy yawn. " Come along, 
Cockie," he shouted, in a stentorian bass, 
" and bring your friend with you. I've had 
quite enough of solitude." 

Instantly there was silence. Then the door 
was flung wide and Charles Langridge 
appeared, unmistakably happy, but amazed 
and scandalized. Close behind him came 
his visitor, her eyes gleaming with mis- 
chievous fun. 

The moment Rupert saw her he uttered a 
wild whoop and rushed to her. 

44 Carrots ! " he cried. " My long-lost 
sister, come to my arms ! " 

" Rupert ! " she answered, falling into 
them. " My prodigal brother, found at 
last!" 



44 Are you both of you stark, raving mad ? " 
cried Charles. Then, " Carrots ! " he repeated , 
looking at her eagerly. " You don't mean to 
say — why, I do declare — no, it can't be — yes, 
it is ! I see it when you smile like that. I 
do believe you're really and truly the school- 
girl I used to feed with peppermint creams ! " 

44 Ripping they were, too ! " she said, still 
smiling. 

" Dear old Cockie," said Rupert, " it's too 
bad of us. We've had a rare game with you, 
haven't we ? We made it all up on the stairs 
outside, and everything came off. She 
simply wouldn't go without seeing you, and 
when I told her you weren't taking on old 
friends, she said she'd go as a new one. She 
stamped her foot till I thought you'd hear her. 
4 I can smell his peppermints,' she said, 
1 and, by my halidom, I'll taste them ! ' " 

41 Oh, Rupe," interjected his sister, " where 
do you expect to go to ? " 

" To somewhere in somewhere," he 
answered, and Charles, with a half-glance 
at her, immediately declared, " I'm going to 
have another shot at Kitchener. I surely can 
get my knee patched up somehow." 

44 Bravo, old chap ! " cried Rupert. " Cold's 
just about cured, I reckon. By the way," he 
added, 4< you owe me a tenner." 

" Do I ? How do you make that out ? " 

44 Well, the real, genuine E 203 has been 
here, and I interviewed her on your behalf, 
and sent her off with the tenner in her bag." 

44 What was she like ? " Charles asked. 

44 She wasn't young, and she wasn't pretty, 
and I'm afraid she wasn't any too good, but 
she made me feel sorry for her and a bit 
ashamed of myself — that's yourself, you 
know. She said she'd tramped over from 
Camden Town, and she was tired, and hungry, 
and disappointed. There was something 
sporting about her, though, and she went off 
blessing the name of Charles Langridge." 

44 I'm glad of that," said Ethel. 44 We did 
play her rather a shabby trick. After all, 
you know " — she turned to Charles — " you 
did invite her." 

44 And she'd got tons of sympathy," Rupert 
put in. 

44 No," Charles declared. "She invited 
herself. And I've found something ever so 
much sweeter than sympathy." 

44 Have you, Cockie ? " asked Rupert. 
44 What's sweeter than sympathy ? " 

44 Why, Carrots, of course," answered 
Charles, boldly, taking her hand. 



by Google 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



PARSON STORIES. 



BY OUR READERS. 

Illustrated by CL E. Montford. 



In a recent number we invited our readers to send us stories illustrating the lighter side of the parson's 
life. As might have been expected, we have been inundated with anecdotes, and only want of space 

prevents us from publishing a larger selection. 



It was during the Coronation festivities in the 

little town of X . Great rejoicings prevailed, 

and the proceedings were to commence with the 
Mayor and Corporation and a vast body of citizens 
representing all trades and professions marching in 
procession to the parish church for a special service, 
whereat all denominations were taking part. The 
time appointed for the service drew on and the clergy, 
choir, and congregation were waiting expectantly for 
the procession to arrive. Some minutes passed, and 
a Nonconformist minister suggested that to keep 
things going and to while away the tedium of waiting 
the choir should sing a hymn, and without further 
ado struck up, " Hold the Fort, for I am Coming," 
which hymn, strangely appropriate, was sung with 
fervour. Unfortunately, however, just as the pro- 
cession hove into sight, the portly Mayor, in all the 
dignity of his civic robes, at its head, the choir were 
singing lustily the second verse, commencing, " See 
the mighty host advancing, Satan leading on." 

The bishop of the diocese was going to pay a visit 
to a certain country vicarage, and the vicar was 
telling his little son that he 
must be very good, and if 
the bishop spoke to him 
he was to call him " my 
lord." 

In due course the bishop « 
arrived, and when, later, 
he was introduced to the 
vicar's small boy, he patted 
him kindly on the head 
and, smiling benignly, 
said : — 

"Well, my little man, 
and how old are you ? " 

To which the little fellow 
nervously replied : — 
44 My God, I'm seven ! " 

Miss D. Wedlake, Burnt House, Ellington, Bridgwater* 
Somerset. 



The vicar was paying his first visit to one of his 
congregation, who had a small daughter. Whilst the 
mother was out of the room the vicar talked to the 
child, who was playing with a Teddy bear, the eyes 
of which were decidedly crooked. He inquired of 
the child what she called her Teddy. 

44 Gladly," replied the child. 

44 What a strange name," answered the vicar. 
44 What makes you call it that ? " 

44 Well," said the child, 4i we have it nearly every 
Sunday at church in * Gladly my cross I'd bear.' 
(* Gladly, my cross-eyed bear.*) " 

Mrs. G. M. Walker, Brooke House Farm, Prestbury, near 
Macclesfield. 




At a little Methodist chapel one of the poorer 
brethren was particularly given to venting his 
appreciation of the service in loud 4i Amens and 
"Alleluias." A certain well-to-do member had 
found this somewhat disturbing, and, as he thought, 
hit upon a plan for inducing the enthusiastic one to 
subdue his outbursts, the arrangement being that if 
the poor brother would refrain from his disturbing 
habit for a certain time he was to have a new pair 
of boots On the following Sabbath all went well 
for a time, and the service proceeded in unwonted 
calm, but as the preacher waxed warm and eloquent 
the poor brother became noticeablv ill at ease, and 
towards the end of the sermon could bear it no longer, 
and shouted out, 4 * Boots or ho boots, Alleluia ! " 

P. K. Cook, 17, Leadale Road. Stamford Hill, N. 



In a country church in Canada a minister was 
conducting a service one Sunday night. He listened, 
apparently not very impressed, to the choir drawling 
out the first hymn. When the next hymn came 
around, the first line was, " Little Drops of 
Water." The minister gave it out, and then 
added : — 

44 For goodness* sake put a little spirit into it ! " 
Cadet K. A. Mackenzie, Royal Naval College, Halifax, Nova 
Scotia, Canada. 

A PARSON was making a speech at a temperance 
meeting. During his discourse he said : — 

44 If I had my way, all the drink in England should 
be sunk to the bottom of the sea." 

At this stage someone at the back said : — 

44 Hear, hear ! " 

44 I am glad to see my friend at the back agrees 
with me," said the parson. 

44 Yes, sir," said the man ; <4 1 am a diver." 

Cidet Wilson, Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. 



by LiOOglC 



A curate was much worried about the increasing 
subordination of school- 
children, due to so many 
fathers being away at 
the Front. Hearing 
exceedingly strong lan- 
guage coming from a 
group of small boys 
outside his house, he 
went out and severely 
reprimanded them. 
Nothing was said by 
the boys till they had 

Cut a safe distance 
etween themselves and 
the curate, when the 
ringleader, who was not 
more than ten, struck 
an attitude in the middle 
claimed : — 

44 Do let us have ele^irr language, Adolphus ! s 



in- 




of the road, and ex- 



UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



4» 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 




The country parsonage was in a state of flurry 
and excitement because the bishop, after the Confirma- 
tion, was to stay the 
night. The gardener's 
lad was brought in as 
a page-boy and given 
careful instructions, 
amongst other things, 
as to the way be must 
call the bishop in the 
morning* lie was told 
to knock at the bed- 
100m door and, on 
receiving an answer, to 
say : — 

*' The boy, my lord,* 
Next morning, how- 
ever, after knocking, he got flurried, and when the 
bishop answered, he said : — 
" The lord, my boy." 

Not very long ago a vicar was very uneasy because 
Ins new ritualistic curate would persist in going about 
the streets in his cassock. Suddenly the practice 
was discontinued, for the curate had been followed 
home bv a crowd of school-children shouting : — 

" Votes for Women I " 

THE new diocesan church house had just been 
opened, and a committee was considering, amongst 
oilier things, suitable texts for decorating the various 
rooms » For the refreshment bar someone suggested, 
"Here the wild asses quench their thirst,"* 

MUs R, Clbcb , Beamond End, Amersham, Puck*. 

A LITTLE girl, the daughter of a clergyman, had 
been learning a Christmas hymn. Imagine her 
mother's horror when she began i — 

"While shepherds washed their froch by night ! *' 
Mis I. Williams, Kildale Hall, Grosmont, R.5,0„ Yorks. 



"Then you will have to ask him," was the quick 
retort. 

F. Bay ford Harrison p Mount Cottage, Weyljt-idge. 



The genial rector of a neighbouring parish told me 
an amusing story of an old farmer. It was at the 
time of a General Election, and prayers had been 
offered up in church for the guidance of God in the 
choice of "fit persons " to serve in Parliament, 
The result of the election was the total defeat at the 
polls of the Liberal Party, and meeting the farmer 
shortly afterwards, the rector was greeted by the 
curt remark : — 

" Well, p isson, you've made a nice mess on't ! " 

" Indeed, and what have I done ? " 

" Why, you've gone and prayed Gladstone out I " 

The Rev. Canon Br*mdd, Hemerton, Woodlands, Comlrt 
Mart in % North Devon. 



A CLERGYMAN, beginning bis sermon immediately' 
after the conclusion of the anthem, took his text 
from Acts xx. r : ** After the uproar was ceased/' 
This, though probably quite unpremeditated, 
seemed to the choir to be an uncalled-for reflection 
upon their efforts, and a whispered roiiMiliuiioTi 
during the sermon bore fruit in a fine revenge when, 
at the close of the discourse, they broke forth in 
another anthem, " It is time to awake from sleep." 

C. Smart, 19, Cromwell Street, Swansea* 



It was customary in the village church for the 
parson to give out the hymn line by line, and, as he 
repeated each line, the people sang it. One Sunday, 
as the organist played the opening chords, the parson 
discovered (hat he had not brought his spectacles 
(without which he could not read) to church* So he 
said, sadly : — 

" My eyes are dim, I cannot see.*' 

The rustic mind not being acute of perception, 
the congregation took this to be the first line oi a 
new hymn, and accordingly they sang, lustily t — 

" My eyes are dim, J cannot see*" 

The aged parson waited until all was silent. 
Then :— 

iA I speak of my infirmity/' he announced, petulantly, 

* E I speak of my infirmity," roared his too-obedient 
fiock. 

'* I only said my eyes were dim," quavered the old 
man through the noise, and again the people echoed 
his remonstrance in song. 

By this time the parson had almost collapsed. 

"I did not mean to sing a hymn," he murmured, 
faintly, and the church -goers, nothing daunted, 
concluded the most extraordinary hymn ever sung 
in church. 



One of my Sabbath-school teachers told me she 
WLis explaining the parable of the tares. She asked 
a little boy who sowed the tares. The boy thought 
she was looking at the patches on bis trousers, and 
promptly replied : — 

"My mother." 

Rev* W. J. Fawcett, Greet] field Manse, Arrruiijb. 



All honour to the man who dares speak plain 
truth to the great ones of the earth ! A sharp, even 
rude retort, when addressed to one who has provoked 
it, reflects credit on the bold speaker. As when a 
Bishop of Ripon turned upon a professing infidel 
who asked him if he believed that Jonah was swallowed 
by a whale. 

'"When I go to heaven" said the bishop, "Til 
ask Jonah," 

*' But supposing," the other persisted, " he is not 
there ? " 



A. Dunlesi, 39, King Street, Cork, 



X 



Sy LiGOgle 



At a certain church in Yorkshire a curate, who was 
rather small in stature, was due to preach* This 
church was noted for its high pulpit. 

When the curate arrived it w»s found lhat he could 
not see over the top of it sufficiently well for him to 
preach with any success* 
Accordingly, a stool was 
placed in the pulpit for 
him to stand upon. 
When the time came for 
the sermon the preacher 
got upon the stool and 
gave out his text \— 

" A little while and 
ye shall see Me, and 
yet a little while and 
ye shall not see Me/ 1 
and immediately he 
slipped off the stool 
behind the pulpit. 

The curate, who had a keen sense of humour, greatly 
surprised the congregation, when he bad once more 
come into sight, by saying : — 

u Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of 
the world." .... 

Original from 
UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 





PARSON STORIES. 



49 



A VERY earnest 
Methodist preacher 
was once preaduug at 
a church where the 
chapel- keeper was very 
deaf. The preacher, 
being anxious to arouse 
the emotions of his 
congregation, asked the 
chape] -keeper to shout 
" Amen '* at suitable 
points in the sermon. 

Of course, being 
d?af, he could not very 
well do this. Therefore 
it was arranged that 
he should sit at the 
front near the pulpit, and that the preacher should 
have a bag of peas, and that, whenever he wished 
the chapel -keeper to say " Amen," he should drop a 
pea on the floor. 

This scheme worked satisfactorily for about ten 
minutes, but great was the surprise of the preacher 
and congregation when a voice suddenly started 
saying : — 

" Amen, Amen, Amen," as quickly as ever he could. 

The bag had burst ! 

ind U*u£, F, Archer, 1 ilh EasI Suney Regiment* 



A young curate found the young ladles in the 
parish to.) helpfuh At 
last it became so em- 
barrassing that he left, 
Hot long after he met 
the curate who had 
succeeded him. 

•* Well/ 1 he asked, 
m how do you get on 
*ith the ladies ? " 

" Oh, very well," said 
the other ; " there is 
safety in numbers! you 
know" 

"Ah!" was the in- 
stant reply, " I only found it in Exodus I " 

Ma Thomas Cariref, Broiul*At*r Kixad, Worthing, 




1 



Ths following story was related to me as an actual 
occurrence. The vicar oi a Manchester church had 
a young brother who had just been ordained* Knowing 
that this brother was very nervous, he suggested to 
him that he should obtain permission to preach his 
first sermon at his church, so lhat lie niijjht receive 
confidence from his brother's presence. The per* 
mission was duly granted* 

In the vestry before the service the younger brother 
asked if he might remain there till the time for the 
sermon, so that he might once more run through his 
notes. The choir, therefore, went into church without 
him and the service began. 

Time passed, and the hymn before the sermon was 
reached, but the younger brother came not into the 
church, The hymn ended, still there was no sign of 
the brother. The yes try door remained closed. 
So the vicai left his stall and made for the vestry to 
see what had happened. 

On opening the door this is what he saw. His 
brother was standing in the middle of the vestry with 
his mouth wide open, and the parish clerk was standing 
jn front of him on tip-toe, trying with both hands to 
shut it, His teeth had chattered so, through nervous- 
ness, that he had put his jaw out ! 

Clement Winter- j[ ,-* £ \ n , '■ 

vol vu 4 Digitized by ^OOglL 



One of the funniest stories I ever heard was told 
me by the cu rate-in -charge of an East -end mission 
church. He in his surplice, etc, went to the church 
on Easter Sunday mo r rung and pave out the well- 
known hymn, u Christ the Lord is Risen To-day," 
when a big, strapping woman, half-way down the 
church, commenced to sing u A Bicycle Made for Two." 

He thought, " I can't have my Sunday service 
spoilt/* and beckoned to his verger to come to the 
reading-desk, and directed him to conduct her quietly 
from the church. This he flatly refused to do, 
saying : — 

" Not me I That's Mrs- (TFlannagan, the cele- 
brated woman prize -fighter, and I'm not going to 
tackle her. 1 * 

The poor minister had no alternative but to try the 
job himself, and went down to the pew where she was 
seated, and, by promising her sundry tickets for 
groceries and so forth, cajoled her into withdrawing, 
but at the end of the pew she seized his arm and walked 
with him, arm in arm, to the door. 

Then she suddenly seized him (he is not a big man) 
and lifted him till his face was opposite hers, gave 
him a sounding kiss on either cheek, and put him 
down, saying, loudlv *— 

" I always tell (5'Flannagan if I hadn't had him 
I'd have had you," and left the poor minister to go 
back to his desk and conduct his service with feelings 
that can better be imagined than described. 

This story, strange as it may sound, is perfectly 
true, and the victim is a friend of the writer 

Cforge E. Foire, Fajrnnead, Angel Road, Thames Dillon, 



The new curate was a most amiable young man, 
and old Bloggs had an idea that his only daughter, 
whom he expected to make a good match, was becoming 
infatuated with this curate. Moreover, old Bloggs 
had a suspicion that the curate had designs upon his 
daughter, and probably on her money-bags. So he 
determined to watch and wait, and, should he discover 
any signs of attachment springing up between the 
two, to promptly suppress it. 

Accordingly, he would always accompany his 
daughter to and from church when this particular 
curate officiated. All went well for a time, and, in 
spite of his daughter's repeated assurances that there 
was nothing but friendship between them, old Bloggs 
was not satisfied. 

At last the crash came. The young curate ascended 
the pulpit, gave out his text, Daniel v, 25, and pro- 
ceeded to read : " Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin." 

Immediately on hearing the text, old Bloggs, who 
was slightly deaf, got up, seized his daughter by the 
hand, marched her out of *he church, and did not 
stop until he n-iidiird huine. Placing his daughter 
in a chair, he said : — 

M There, Minnie, I knew it ; and you denied it a 1 ! 
the time." 

By this time Minnie was able to speak, and said 1 
"Why, hither, what 
does all this mean ? M 

"Mean!" cried 
Bloggs. 4i I would like 
to know what that 
impudent young curate 
means by shouting 
before the whole con* 
rjftgation, * Minnie, 
Minnie, tickle your 
parson. 1 " 

B. F, C™ hbr. t6, Kr. 
A titan's Ruad Be yn mill. 
Swanae*. 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 







THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



5° 

The members of a 
boys 1 Bible class were 
asked to bring special 
offerings the following 
Sunday for the mis- 
sionary cause, and a 
request was made that 
each boy, on dropping 
his gift in the missionary- 
box, should say an 
appropriate text for the 
occasion. 

The following Sunday 
the announced collection 
was taken t and the boys in turn dropped in their 
offerings with such texts as " The Lord loveth a 
cheerful giver/' "It is more blessed to give," etc. 

The last boy in the class dropped in his penny with 
a sigh, and said, " A fool and his money are soon 
parted.*' 

Kdgar C\ Hannant, Market House, Swaffliani, Norfolk- 




A WORTHY lay preacher in Bedfordshire, who had 
not been blessed with a too liberal education, yet was 
fond of using large -sounding words 3 once referred to 
something as a " phonemon," meaning, of course, 
** phenomenon, ' and after the service inauired of his 
host if he had noticed the new word used during the 
discourse that morning; The host replied in the 
affirmative, but added that he failed to grasp its 
meaning. 

Therefore, at the evening service, the preacher 
informed his hearers that he feared he had used a 
word at the morning service which, perhaps, had not 
been understood by all, and he would endeavour to 
explain it. 

" If/* said he, ** as you wend your way home this 
evening, you pass a cow grazing in the field, that would 
not be a ' phone m on ' i and farther on in the same 
field you noticed a cluster of thistles, that also could 
not be described as a * phone mon' ; whilst later on 
you heard a lark trilling its evening song as it rose in 
the sky, even that could not be referred to as a 
' phonemon/ But," concluded he, with emphasis, 
14 if you saw that same cow sitting on those 
thistles trilling like a lark, that would indeed be a 
* phonemon * ! " 

H* Hancock, 749, London Road, Derby, 



Many years ago mv sister and I paid a visit to 
Mme. Tussaud's Exhibition, When we were leaving 

the building she dis- 
covered that her purse, 
containing three 
so% r e reigns, was missing* 
Naturally, this was a 
shock to us, and we 
appealed to an atten- 
dant, who kindly gave 
us all the comfort he 
could, and requested 
us to call again in a 
few days* 

As my sister was 
obliged to return to 
her home, T went alone. 
Dn reaching the exhibition an attendant asked me 
to wait, and invited me into the hall He placed a 




A WELL-KNOWN evangelist was once conducting si 
series of meetings in a city in Scotland, At the 
close of one of his addresses he invited all those who 
wished to go to heaven to stand up. A large number 
responded to his appeal, but one old man in the very 
front remained seated. This rather vexed the speaker, 
and so he turned to the old man, and said *— 
" Don't you want to go to heaven, my friend ? " 
"Aye," was the reply, ** J dee want to gang, but 
I dinna want to gang m* the trip." 

A clergyman was taking duty one Sunday for a 
friend who had a country parish. When he arrived 
in the vestry he found awaiting him an old worthy , 
who began to tell him where the various things rle 
needed were, what he ought to do f and p gene rally, to 
order him about. This naturally roused the clergyman, 
and at the first opportunity he broke in and said ;— 

" Do you mind telling me who you are and what 
exact office it is that you hold here ? '* 

** Well, sir," declared the old man, w there's some 
that calls me a beetle, there's others that calls me a 
sextant t but the parson, he calls me a virgin." 

A Curate* who had recently begun to play golf, 
came to his vicar to say that he f eared he would have 
to give it up. lie said that the game was not good 
for his morals, and he found himself resorting to 
strong language* 

The vicar suggested that every time he wanted to 
swear he should put a 
stone into his pocket. 

At the end of the wet k 
the cur a te returned, 
and showed him his 
pocket full of stones. 

"That is not bud," 
said the vicar, * 4 for a 
week's golf." 

11 Ah, that's not ail ; 
there is a cartload of 
stones coming on 
behind ! " 

J, + Hm per Kigg t Cheviot, 
Cecil Park, Pinner. 




chair for me near the bottom of the marble staircase, 
and I sat and watched the sightseers. 

Presently a group entered — a parson, apparently, 
escorting a bevy of fresh young girls. Their guide 
paid the entrance fees and piloted his lair charges 
through the turnstile. He had determined, no doubt, 
that nothing would deceive him^ however life-like. 
They were about to ascend the stairs when the reverend 
eye alighted upon me, sitting still and calm in the 
halL Ah, here was the first test I He approached 
me cautiously, followed by the ladies, and they all 
gazed at me with thoughtful faces for a moment, 
and then he said :-- 

81 She is wax ! M 

This was too much for me. I blushed and smiled, 
and the spell was broken. With an embarrassed 
countenance he raised his hat and begged mv pardon, 
and mounted the stairs hastily, with the tittering 
girls behind, 

I may add that when the official appeared I 
identified the empty purse of my sister. 

Mrs. E. J Smith. =$ : Wellington Stiver, Swindon. 



by Google 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



RETRIBUTION. 



lib 



4* 



Author of (< The Lieutenant and Others "and " Sergeant Michael Cassidy, R.E. y * 

Illustrated by Warwick Reynolds. 




N the Promenade facing the 
Casino at Monte Carlo two 
men were seated smoking. 
The Riviera season was at 
its height, and passing to 
and fro in front of them 
was the usual gang of well- 
dressed idlers, who go to form the society of 
that delectable, if expensive, resort. Now and 
again a passing acquaintance would nod to 
them, to be greeted with a smile from one, 
and a curt grunt from the other, who, with 
his eyes fixed on the steps down to the 
Promenade, seemed oblivious of all else. 

" Cheer up, Jerry ; she won't be long. 
Give the poor girl time to digest her luncheon." 
The cheerful one of the twain lit a cigarette ; 
and in the process received the glad eye 
from a passing siren of striking aspect. 
" Great Caesar, old son ! " he continued, when 
she was swallowed up in the crowd, " you're 
losing the chance of a lifetime. Here, 
gathered together to bid us welcome, are 
countless beautiful women and brave men. 
We are for the moment the cynosure of all 
eyes — the brave British sailors whom the 
ladies delight to honour. Never let it be 
said, old dear, that you failed them in this 
their hour of need." 

** Confound it, Ginger, I know all about 
that ! " The other man sighed and, seeming 
to come suddenly out of the brown study 
he was in, he leant forward and fumbled 
for his cigarette-case. " But it's no go, old 
man. I'm getting a deuced sight too old 
and ugly nowadays to chop and change 
about. There comes a time of life when if 
a man wants to kiss one particular woman, 
he might as well kiss his boot for all the 
pleasure fooling around with another will 
give him." 

Ginger Lawson looked at him critically. 
" My lad, I fear me that Nemesis has at 
length descended on you. No longer do the 
ortolans and caviare of unregenerate bachelor- 
hood tempt you ; rather do you yearn for 
ground rice and chops in the third - floor 

back. These symptoms " 

" Ginger," interrupted the other, " dry 



up. You're a dear, good soul, but when you 
try to be funny, I realize the type of man 
who writes mottoes for crackers." He 
started up eagerly, only to sit down again 
with a disappointed look. 

" Not she, not she, my love," continued 
the other, imperturbably. " And, in the 
meanwhile, doesn't it strike you that you 
are committing a bad tactical error in sitting 
here, with a face like a man that's eaten a 
bad oyster, in the very seat where she's 
bound to see you when she does finish her 
luncheon and come down ? " 

" I suppose that means you want me to 
cocktail with you ? " 

" More impossible ideas have fructified," 
agreed Ginger, rising. 

" No, I'm blowed if ! " 

' Come "on, old son." Lawson dragged 
him reluctantly to his feet. " All the world 
loves a lover, my boy, including the loved 
one herself ; but you look like a deaf-mute 
at a funeral, who's swallowed his fee. Come 
and have a cocktail at Ciro's, and then, 
merry and bright, and caracoling like a 
young lark, return and snatch her from under 
the nose of the accursed Teuton." 

" Do you think she's going to accept him, 
Ginger ? " muttered the other, anxiously, as 
they sauntered through the drifting crowd. 

" My dear boy, ask me another. But 
she's coming to the ball dance on board 
to-night, and if the delicate pink illumination 
of your special kala jugger, shining softly 
on your virile face, and toning down the 
somewhat vivid colour scheme of your sun- 
burned nose, doesn't melt her heart, I don't 
know what will." 

Which all requires a little explanation. 
Before the war broke out it was the custom 
each year for that portion of the British 
Fleet stationed in the Mediterranean, and 
whose headquarters were at Malta, to make 
a cruise lasting three weeks or a month to 
some friendly sea-coast, where the ports 
were good and the inhabitants merry. 
Trieste, perhaps, and up the Adriatic ; 
Alexandria and the countries to the East ; 
or, best of all, the Riviera. And at the 

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time when my story opens the officers of the 
British Mediterranean Fleet, which had 
come to rest in the wonderful natural 
anchorage of Villefranche, half-way between 
Monte Carlo and Nice, were doing their best 
to live up to the reputation which the British 
naval officer enjoys the world over. Every- 
where within motor distance of their vessels 
they were greeted with joy and acclamation ; 
there were dances and dinners, women and 
wine — and what more for a space can any 
hard-worked sailor-man desire ? During their 
brief intervals of leisure they slept and 
recuperated on board, only to dash off again 
with unabated zeal to pastures new, or 
renewed, as the case might be. 

Foremost amongst the revellers on this 
as on other occasions was Jerry Travers, 
torpedo-lieutenant on the flagship. Being 
endowed by Nature with an infinite capacity 
for consuming cocktails, and with a dispo- 
sition merry and bright as the morning lark, 
his sudden fall from grace was all the more 
noticeable. From being a tireless leader of 
revels, he became a mooner in secret places, 
a melancholy sigher in the wardroom. 
Which fact did not escape the eyes of the 
flagship wardroom officers. And Lawson, 
the navigating lieutenant, had deputed 
himself as Jerry'*s second. 

Staying at the Hotel de Paris was an 
American, who was afflicted with the dreadful 
name of Honks ; with him were his wife and 
his daughter Maisie. Maisie Honks has not 
a prepossessing sound ; but she was the 
girl who was responsible for Jerry Traverses 
downfall. He had met her at a ball in Nice 
just after the Fleet arrived, and, from that 
moment onwards, he had been her devoted 
slave. Like a goodly number of men who 
have sailed merrily through life, sipping at 
many flowers but leaving each without great 
heart-burnings on either side, when he took 
it he took it hard. And Maisie had just 
about reduced him to idiocy. I am no 
describer of girls, but I was privileged to 
know and revere the lady from afar, and I 
can truthfully state that I have rarely, if 
ever, seen a more absolute dear. She wasn't 
fluffy, and she wasn't statuesque ; she did 
not have violet eyes which one may liken to 
mountain pools, or hair of that colour 
described as spun-gold. She was just — 
Maisie, one of the most adorable girls that 
ever happened. And Jerry, as I say, had 
taken it very badly. 

Unfortunately, there was a fly in the 
ointment — almost of bluebottle size — in the 
shape of another occupant of the Hotel de 

Digitized by CjOOQ IC 



Paris, who had also taken it very badly, and 
at a much earlier date. The Baron von 
Dressier — an officer in the German navy, 
and a member of one of the oldest Prussian 
families — had been staying at Monte Carlo 
for nearly a month, on sick leave after a 
severe dose of fever. And he, likewise, 
worshipped with ardour and zeal at the 
Honks shrine. Moreover, being apparently 
a very decent fellow, and living as he did 
in the same hotel, he had, as Jerry miserably 
reflected, a bit of a preponderance in 
artillery, especially as he'd opened fire more 
than a fortnight before the British Navy 
had appeared on the scene. This, then, 
was the general situation ; and the particular 
feature of the moment, which caused an 
outlook on life even more gloomy than usual 
in the heart of the torpedo-lieutenant, was 
that the Baron von Dressier had been 
invited to lunch with his adored one, while 
he had not. 

" Something potent, Fritz." Lawson 
piloted him firmly to the bar and addressed 
the presiding being respectfully. " Something 
potent and he£dy which will make this 
officer's sad heart merry and bright again. 
He has been crossed in love." 

" Don't be an ass, Ginger," said the other, 
peevishly. 

" My dear fellow, the credit of the Navy 
is at stake. Admitted that you've had a 
bad start in the Honks stakes, nevertheless 
— you never know — our Teuton may take 
a bad fall. And, incidentally, there they 
both are, to say nothing of Honks pere et 
mlreP He was peering through the window. 
" No, you don't, my boy ! " as the other 
made a dash for the door. " The day is yet 
young. Lap it up ; repeat the dose ; and 
then in the nonchalant style for which our 
name is famous we will sally forth and have 
at them." 

" Confound it, Ginger ! they seem to be 
on devilish good terms. Look at the 
blighter, bending towards her as if he owned 
her." Travers stood in the window rubbing 
his hands with his handkerchief nervously. 

" What d'you expect him to do ? Look the 
other way ? " The navigating officer snorted. 
" You make me tired, Torps. Come along 
if you're ready; and try and look jaunty 
and debonair." 

" Heavens ! old boy ; I'm as nervous as 
a cat." They were passing into the street. 
41 My hands are clammy. and my boots are 
bursting with feet." 

" I don't mind about your boots ; but 
for goodness* sake dry your hands. Xo 

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self-respecting girl would look at a man with 
perspiring palms/' 

Ten minutes later three pairs of people 
might have been seen strolling up and down 
the Promenade. And as the arrangement of 
those pairs was entirely due to the navigating 
lieutenant, their composition is perhaps 
worth a paragraph. At one end — as was 
very right and proper — Jerry and Miss 
Honks discussed men and matters — at least, 
I assume so — with a zest that seemed to 
show his nervousness was only transient. 
In x the middle the stage- manager and Mrs. 
Honks discussed Society, with a capital " S " 
— a subject of which the worthy woman 
knew nothing and talked a lot. At the 
other end, Mr. Honks poured into the unre- 
sponsive ear of an infuriated Prussian 
nobleman his new scheme for cornering 
sausages. Which shows what a naval officer 
can do when he gets down to it. 

Now, it is certainly not my intention to 
give at great length the course of Jerry 
Traverses love affair during his stay on the 
Riviera. Sufficient to say, it did not run 
smooth. But there are one or two points 
which I must relate, for though they have 
no actual bearing on the strange happenings 
which brought together our three principals 
in circumstances nothing short of miraculous 
at a future date, yet for the proper under- 
standing of the retribution that came upon 
the Hun it is well that they should be told. 

As far as we are concerned they all 
occurred that same evening, at the ball given 
by the British Navy on the flagship. Few 
sights, I venture to think, are more imposing, 
and to a certain extent more incongruous, 
than one of these monsters of the sea in 
gala mood. . For days beforehand, men 
skilled in electricity erect with painstaking 
care a veritable fairyland of coloured lights, 
which shine softly on the deck cleared for 
dincing, and discreet kala juggers prepared 
with equal care by officers skilled in love. 
Everywhere is there peace and luxury; the 
music of the band steals across the silent 
water ; the death-dealing leviathan is at 
rest. Almost can one imagine the mighty 
engines, the great guns, the whole infernal 
paraphernalia of death, laughing grimly at 
their master's amusements — those masters 
whose brains forged them and riveted them 
and gave them birth ; who with the pressure 
of a finger can launch five tons of death at 
a speck ten miles away ; whose lightest 
caprice they are bound to obey — and yet 
who now cover them with flimsy silks and 



by LiOOgle 



fairy lights, while they dance and make love 
to laughing, soft-eyed girls. And perhaps 
there was some such idea in the gunnery- 
lieutenant's mind as he leant against the 
breech of a twelve-inch gun, waiting for his 
particular guest. " Not yet, old man," he 
muttered to himself ; " not yet. To-night 
we play ; to-morrow — who knows ? " 

Above, the lights shone out unshaded, 
silhouetting the battle cruiser with lines of 
fire against the vault of heaven, sprinkled 
with the golden dust of a myriad stars ; 
while ceaselessly across the violet water 
steam-pinnaces dashed backwards and for- 
wards, carrying boatloads of guests from the 
landing-stage, and then going back for more. 
At the top of the gangway the admiral, 
immaculate in blue and gold, welcomed 
them as they arrived ; the flag-lieutenant, 
with the weight of much responsibility on 
his shoulders, having just completed a last 
lightning tour of the ship, only to discover a 
scarcity of hairpins in the ladies' cloak-room, 
stood behind him. And in the wardroom 
the engineer-commander — a Scotsman of 
pessimistic outlook — reviled with impar- 
tiality all ball dances, adding a special clause 
for the one now commencing. But then, 
off duty, he had no soul above bridge. 

Into this setting, therefore, stepped the 
starters for the Honks stakes ; only, for the 
time being, the positions were reversed. Now 
the Baron was the stranger in a strange land ; 
Jerry was at home — one of the hosts. More- 
over, as has already been discreetly hinted, 
there was a certain and very particular kala 
jugger. And into this very particular kala 
jugger Jerry, in due course, piloted his adored 
one. 

I am now coming to the region of imagina- 
tion. I was not in that dim-lit nook with 
them, and therefore I am not in a position 
to state with any accuracy what occuired. 
But — and here I must be discreet — there was a 
midshipman, making up in cheek and in- 
quisitiveness what he lacked in years and 
stature. Also, as I have said, the Honks 
stakes were not a private matter — far from 
it. The prestige of the British Navy was at 
stake, and betting ran high in the gunroom, 
or abode of " snotties." Where this young 
imp of mischief hid, I know not ; he swore 
himself that his overhearing was purely 
accidental, and endeavoured to excuse his 
lamentable conduct by saying that he learned 
a lot ! 

His account of the engagement betrayed a 
breezy, if nautical, style, and as there is, so 
far as I know, no other description of the 

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Operations extant, I give t it for what it is 
worth. 

Jerry, he told me in the Union Club, 
Valetta, at a later date, opened the action 
with some tentative shots from his higher 
armament. For ten minutes odd he alter- 
nately Honked and Maisied, till, as my 
ribald informant put it, the deck rang with 
noises reminiscent of a jibbing motor-car. 
She countered ably with rhapsodies over the 
ship, the band, and life in general, utterly 
refusing to be drawn into personalities. 

Then, it appeared, Jerry's self-control 
completely deserted him, and with a hoarse 
and throaty noise he opened fire with the full 
force of his starboard broadside ; he rammed 
down the loud pedal and let drive. 

He assured her that she was the only woman 
he could ever love ; he. seized her ungloved 
hand and fervently kissed it ; in short, he 
offered her his hand and heart in the most 
approved style, the while protesting his 
absolute unworthiness to aspire to such an 
honour as her acceptance of the same. 

" Net result, old dear," murmured my 
graceless informant, pressing the bell for 
another cocktail, " nix — a frost absolute, a 
frost complete. 

" She thought he and the whole ship were 
bully, and wasn't that little boy who'd brought 
them out in the launch the cutest ever, but 
she reckoned sailors cut no ice with poppa. 
She was just too sorry for words it had ever 
occurred, but there it was, and there was 
nothing more to be said." 

For the truth of these statements I will 
not vouch. I do know that on the night in 
question Jerry was refused by the only 
woman he'd ever really cared about, because 
he told me so, and the method of it is of little 
account. And if there be any who may think 
I have dealt with this tragedy in an un- 
feeling way, I must plead in excuse that I 
have but quoted my informant, and he was 
one of those in the gunroom who had lost 
money on the event. 

Anyway, let me, as a sop to the serious- 
minded, pass on to the other little event 
which I must chronicle before I come to my 
finale. In this world the serious and the 
gay, the tears and the laughter, come to us 
out of the great scroll of fate in strange, 
jumbled succession. The lucky dip at a 
bazaar holds no more variegated procession 
of surprises than the mix-up we call life 
brings to each and all. And so, though my 
tone in describing Jerry's proposal has 
perhaps been wantonly flippant, and though 
the next incident may seem to some to savour 

Digitized by G< 



of melodrama — yet, is it not life, my masters, 
is it not life ? 

I was in the wardroom when it occurred. 
Jerry, standing by the fireplace, was smoking 
a cigarette, and, I freely admit, looking like 
the proverbial gentleman who has lost a 
sovereign and found sixpence. There were 
several officers in there at the time, and — 
the Baron von Dressier. And the Prussian 
had been drinking. 

Not that he was by any means drunk, but 
he was in that condition when some men 
become merry, some confidential, sonfe — 
what shall I say ? — not exactly pugnacious, 
but on the way to it. He belonged to the 
latter class. All the worst traits which are 
the hall-mark of the Prussian autocrat, the 
domineering, sneering, aggressive mannerisms 
— which, to do him justice, in normal 
circumstances he successfully concealed, at 
any rate, when mixing with other nationalities 
— were showing clearly in his face. He was 
once again the arrogant, intolerant aristo- 
crat — truly, in vino Veritas. Moreover, his 
eyes were wandering with continued fre- 
quency to Jerry, who, so far, seemed un- 
conscious of the scrutiny. 

After a while I caught Ginger Lawson's 
eye and he shrugged his shoulders slightly. 
He told me afterwards that he had been fear- 
ing a flare-up for some minutes, but had 
hoped it would pass over. However, he 
strolled over to Jerry and started talking. 

" Mop that up, Jerry," he said, " and come 
along and do your duty. Baron, you don't 
seem to be dancing much to-night. Can't 
I find you a partner ? " 

" Thank you, but I probably know more 
people here than you do." The tone even 
more than the words was a studied insult. 
" Lieutenant Travers's duty seems to have 
been unpleasant up to date, which perhaps 
accounts for his reluctance to resume it. 
Are you — er — lucky at cards ? " This time 
the sneer was too obvious to be disregarded. 

Jerry looked up, and the eyes of the two 
men met. "It is possible, Baron von 
Dressier," he remarked, icily, " that in your 
navy remarks of that type are regarded as 
witty. Would it be asking you too much to 
request that you refrain from using them in a 
ship where they are merely considered vulgar? " 

By this time a dead silence had settled on 
the wardroom, one of those awkward silences 
which any scene of this sort produces on those 
who are in the unfortunate position of 
onlookers. 

Von Dressier was white with passion. 
" You forget yourself, lieutenant. I would 

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have you to know that my uncle is a prince 
of the blood royal." 

* 4 That apparently does not prevent his 
nephew from failing to remember the cus- 
toms that hold amongst gentlemen." 

" Gentlemen ! " The Prussian looked 
round the circle of silent officers with a 
scornful laugh ; the fumes of the spirits he 
had drunk were mounting to his head with 
his excitement. " You mean — shopkeepers ! " 

With a muttered curse several officers 
started forward ; no ball is a teetotal affair, 
I suppose, and scenes of this sort are dangerous 
at any time. Travers held up his hand, 
sharply, incisively. 

" Gentlemen, remember this — er — Prussian 
officer and gentleman is our guest. That 
being the case, sir " — he turned to the 
German — " you are quite safe in insulting us 
as much as you like." 

" The question of safety would doubtless 
prove irresistible to an Englishman." The 
face of the German was distorted with rage, 
he seemed to be searching in his mind for 
insults ; then suddenly he tried a new line. 

" Bah ! I am not a guttersnipe to bandy 
words with you. You will not have long to 
wait, you English, and then — when the day 
does come, my friends ; when, at last, we 
come face to face, then, by God ! then " 

" Well, what then, Baron von Dressier ? " 
A stern voice cut like a whiplash across the 
wardroom ; standing in the door was the 
admiral himself, who had entered unperceived. 

For a moment the coarse, furious face of 
the Prussian paled a little ; then with a 
supreme effort of arrogance he pulled himself 
together. " Then, sir, we shall see — the 
world will see — whether you or we will be 
the victor. The old and effete versus the 
new and efficient. Der Tag." He lifted his 
hand and let it drop; in the silence one 
could have heard a pin drop. 

41 The problem you raise is of interest," 
answered the admiral, in the same icy tone. 
" In the meanwhile any discussion is unprofit- 
able ; and in the surroundings in which you 
find yourself at present it is more than 
unprofitable— it is a gross breach of all good 
form and service etiquette. As our guest 
we were pleased to see you ; you will pardon 
my saying that now I can no longer regard 
you as a guest. Will you kindly give orders, 
Lieutenant Travers, for a steam-pinnace ? 
Baron von Dressier will ^o ashore." 

Such was the other incident that con- 
cerned my principals, and which, of necessity, 
I have had to record. Such an incident is 
probably well-nigh unique ; but when there's 

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a gill at the bottom of things and wine at 
the top, something is likely to happen. The 
only unfoitunate thing about it all, as far 
as Jerry was concerned, was an untimely 
indisposition on the part of Honks mire. 
As a coincidence nothing could have been 
more disastrous. 

The pinnace was at the foot of the gang- 
way, and the Baron — his eyes glinting with 
fuiy — was just preparing to take an elaborate 
and sarcastic farewell of the silent torpedo- 
lieutenant, who was regarding him with an 
air of cold contempt, when Mr. Honks 
appeared on the scene. 

"Say, Baron, are you going away ? " 

" I am, Mr. Honks. My presence seems 
distasteful to the officers." 

The American seemed hardly to hear the 
last part of the remark. " I guess we'll 
quit, too. My wife's been taken bad. Can 
we come in your boat, Baron ? " 

" I shall be more than delighted." His 
eyes came round with ill-concealed triumph 
to Travers's impassive face as the American 
bustled away. " I venture to think that 
the Honks stakes are still open." 

" By Heaven ! You blackguard ! " mut- 
tered Jerry, his passion overcoming him for 
a moment. " I believe I'd give my com- 
mission to smash your ugly face in with 
a marline-spike and chuck you into the sea." 

" I won't forget what you say," answered 
the German, vindictively. " One day I'll 
make you eat those words; and then when 
I've sunk your rat-eaten ship, it will be me 
that does the marline-spike bit — you swine." 

It was as well for Jerry and for the Baron, 
too, that at this psychological moment the 
Honks mlnage arrived ; otherwise that German 
would probably have gone into the sea. 

" Good night, lady," murmured Jerry, 
when he had solicitously inquired after her 
mother's health. " Is there no hope ? " 
He was desperately anxious to seize the 
second or two left ; he knew she would not 
hear the true account of what had happened 
from the Baron. 

" I guess not," she answered, softly. " But 
come and call." With a smile she was gone, 
and from the boat there came the Baron's 
voice mocking through the still air, " Good 
night, Lieutenant Travers. Thank you so 
much." 

And, drowned by the band that started at 
that moment, the wonderful and fearful 
curse that left the torpedo-lieutenant's lips 
drifted into the night unheard. 

Let us go on a couple of years. The 

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moment thought of 
by the gunnery- 
lieutenant, the day 
acclaimed by the 
Prussian officer had 
come. England was 
at war ; dtr Tag 
was an ever-present 
reality. No longer 
did silks and shaded 
lights form purl of 
the equipment of 
the Navy, but grim 
and sombre ? desti- 
tute of anything not 
absolutely neces- 
sary, the gTeat grey 
monsters watched 
tirelessly t hrou g h 
the flying scud of 
the North Sea for 
"the fleet that 
stayed at home," 
Only their sub- 
marines were out, 
and these, day by 
day, diminished in 
numbers, until the 
men who sent them 
out looked at one 
another fearfully — 
so many went out, 
so few came back. 
There are several 
ways of dealing 
with submarines, 
and they realized 
the British Navy 
knew them. 

Tearing through 
the water one day, 
away a bit to the 
south-west of Ban- 
try Bay, with the 
haze of the Emerald 
Isle lying like a 
smudge on the 
horizon, was 
a lean, villainous- 
looking torpedo- 
boat-destroyer, She was plunging her nose into 
the slight swell } now and again drenching the 
oil skinned figure standing motionless on the 
bridge. Behind her a great cloud of black 
smoke drifted slowly across the grey water ? 
and the whole vessel was quivering w r ith the 
force of her engines. She was doing her 
maximum and a bit more, but still the steady, 
watchful eyes of the officer on the bridge 




WITH A SUPREME EFFORT 



by VjC 



lc 



OF ARROGANCE HE PULLED HIMSELF TOGETHER, 
WILL BE THE VICTOR, THE OLD AND EFFETE 

seemed impatient , and occasionally a muttered 
exclamation escaped his lips. 

It was our friend Jerry, who at the end of 
his time on the flagship had been given one of 
the newest T.B.lVs, and now with every 
ounce he could get out of her he was racing 
towards the spot from which had come the 
last S.O.S. message l nearly an hour ago* 
There was something grimly menacing about 

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RKTUIBI'TIOX. 




'THEN, SIR, WE SHALL SEE — THE WORLD WILL SEE — WHETHER YOU OR WE 
VERSUS THE NEW AND EFFICIENT, T3ER TAG/'' 



those agonized calls sent out to the world for 
perhaps twenty minutes, and then — silence, 
nothing more, German submarines, he re- 
flected, as for the tenth time he peered at 
his wrist-watch; German submarines engaged 
once again in the only form of war they could 
compete in or dared undertake. And not 
for the first time his thoughts went back to the 
vainglorious boastings of his friend the Baron, 

Digitized by GGOQle 



57 

lt Hang him/' he 
muttered under his 
breath, "I haven't 
forgotten his plea- 
sant manners/' 

There were other 
things, too, he 
hadn't forgotten ; 
for. when he'd gone 
to call on the lady 
as requested, she 
had been H out/' 
and it was that sort 
of "out" that 
means *' in." A 
letter had been an- 
swered courteously 
but distinctly 
coldly, and, im- 
potent with rage, 
he had been forced 
to the conclusion 
that she was 
offended with him- 
And with the 
Prussian able to say 
what he liked, it 
was not difficult to 
find the reason* 

Then the Fleet 
had left and Jerry 
resigned himself to 
the inevitable, a 
proceeding which 
was not made 
easier by the many 
rumours he heard 
to the effect that 
the Baron himself 
was engaged to her. 
Distinctly he 
wanted once again 
to meet that gentle- 
man, 

*' We ought to see 
her, if she hasn't 
sunk, sir, by now," 
The sub-lieutenant 
on the bridge spoke 
in his ear. 
Travers nodded and swept the horizon with 

his glass, 

" Something on the starboard bow/ 9 The 

voice of the look-out man came to his ears* 
' If s a boat, and I bdive it's empty ! ** 

cried the sub, 

A curt order, and the T.B.D. swung rourtd 

and tore down on the little speck bobbing in 

the water. And thev were still a mile away 
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when a look of dawning horror strargcly 
mixed with joy spread over Jerry's face. His 
{.lass was fixed on the boat, and who in God's 
name was the woman — impossible, of course, 
— but surely. ... If it wasn't it was her twin 
sister ; his hand holding the glass trembled 
with eagerness, and then at last he knew. 
The woman standing up in the stern of the 
boat was Maisie, and as he got nearer he saw 
there was a; look on her face as of a soul who 
has looked upoa death. 

■" Great God ! " The sub's voice roused 
him. " .What have they been doing ? " No 
need to ask whom he meant by " they." 
" The boat is a * shambles.' " 

The destroyer slowed down, and from the 
ciew who looked into that little open boat 
came dreadful curses. It ran with blood ; and 
at the bottom women and children moaned 
feebly. And over this black scene the eyes -of 
the man and the woman met. 

" Carefully, carefully, lads," Travers sang 
out. This was, no time for questions, only the 
poor torn fragments counted. Afterwards, 
perhaps. Tenderly as women the sailors 
lifted out the bodies, and one of them — a 
little girl in his arms, with a dreadful wound 
in her head — jabbered like a maniac with the 
fury of his rage. And so after many days I hey 
again came, face to face. 

" Are you wounded ? " he whispered. 

u No." Her voice was hard and strained ; 
she was near the breaking point, " They 
sank us without warning— the Lucania — and 
then shelled us in the open boats." 

l - Dear heavens ! " Jerry's voice was 
shaking. " Ah ! but you're not hurt, my 
kdy ; they didn't hit you ? " 

" My mother was drowned, and my father 
too. It was the U 99." 

" Ah J " The man's voice was almost a sigh. ■ 

" Submarine on the port bow, sir." A 
howl came from the look-out, followed by the 
reports of two twelve-pounders. And then a 
roaring cheer seemed to shake the very ship, 
like lightning Jeiry was upon the bridge, and 
even he could scarcely contain himself. There, 
lying helpless in the water with a huge hole in 
her conning-tower, wallowed the U 99. Two 
direct hits from the destroyer's guns in a vital 
spot, and the submarine was a submarine no 
longer. Just one of those strokes of poetic 
justice which happen so rarely in war. 

Like rats from a sinking ship the Germans 
were pouring up and going into the water, 
and with snarling faces the Englishmen 
waited for them, waited for them with the 
dying proofs of their vileness still lying on 
the deck. One by one they came on board, 



by L^OOgle 



and suddenly the submarine foundered. Ai.d 
almost as she went* down her comnxr.de r 
tame on board the destroyer, and Baron von 
Dressier, for it was he, found himself face to 
face with his captor. Maisie, lying half-faint ir g 
against a coil of rope, he did not see. 

The Englishmen were muttering argrily, 
and, huddled together, the German sailors 
looked fearfully round. And suddenly the 
man who had carried up the little girl gave a 
hoarse cry, and with all his force he smote 
the nearest German in the mouth. The 
German fell like a stone. 

" Stand fast." Jerry's voice dominated 
the scene. " It is not their fault, they were 
only obeying his orders." And once again 
his eyes rested on their officer. 

" So we meet again," he remarked, " and 
the rat-eaten ship is not sunk. Is this ycur 
work ? " He pointed to the mangled bodies 

" It is not," muttered the Prussian. 

" You lie, you swine, you lie ! Unfor- 
tunately for you you didn't quite cairy out 
your infamous butchery completely enough. 
There is one person on board who knows the 
U 99 sank the Lucania without warning and 
was in the boat you shelled." * 

" I don't believe you, I " 

" Then perhaps you'll believe her. I 
rather think you know her — very well. Look 
behind you, you cur." 

The Prussian turned, and then with a cry 
staggered back, white to the lips. " You, 
great heavens, you — Maisie -" 

And so once again the three principals of 
my little drama were face to face. But no 
longer did sensuous music and the warm, 
violet waters of the Riviera form their 
setting ; this time, with their band the 
ceaseless moaning of the dying men and 
children, and with the grey scud of the 
Atlantic flying past them, the Englishman 
and the German faced one another, and the 
American girl stood by. And watching 
them were the muttering sailors. 

At last she spoke. " This ring, I believe, 
is yours." She took a great h&lf-hoop of 
diamonds from her engagement finger and, 
with a swift movement, flung it into the sea. 
Then she moved towaids him. 

" You drowned my mother, and for that 
I strike you once." She hit him in the face 
with an iron-shod pin. " You drowned my 
father, and for that I strike you again." 
Once again she struck him in the face. " I 
will leave a fighting man and a gentleman 
to deal with you for those poor mites." 
With a choking sob she turned away, and 
once again sank down on the coil of rope. 
Original from 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



RETRIBUTION. 



59 



\ 




*' AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BOAT WOMEN AND CHILDREN MOAN'El) FEEBLY, AND OVER THIS 
BLACK SCENE THE EVES OF THE MAN AND THE WOMAN MET/* 



The Prussian, sobbing with pain and baffled 
rage, with the blood streaming from his face, 
was not a pretty sight ; but in Traverses face 
there was no pity, only icy contempt, 

" ' The old and effete versus the new and 

Digitized by dOOgle 



efficient ! J I seem to recall those words from 
our last meeting. May I congratulate you 
on your efficiency ? Bah ! you swine " — his 
face flamed with sudden passion — bi if you 
aren't skulking m..JKieL xpu're butchering 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



6o 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



women. By heavens ! I can conceive of nothing 
more utterly perfect than flogging you to 
death," 

The Prussian shrank back, his face livid 
with fear* 

11 They were my orders/' he mattered. 
* For God's sake M 

" Oh ; don't b* frightened, Baron von 



il Munimie, I'se hurted." On her knees 
beside the little girl was Maisie, soothing her 
as best she could, easing the throbbing head> 
whispering that mu ramie couldn't come for 
awhile- " I'se hurted. mummie — 1'se hurled," 
Travers turned back again j and the eyes 
of the two men met, 

" My God I Is it possible that a sailor 
could do such a thing? " 

His voice was barely above a whisper, yet 
the Prussian heard and winced. In the depths 

of even the foulest 
bully there is 
generally some 
little redeeming 
spark. 

M I'se hurted ; I 

want my mum- 

mit." 

The Prussian's 

lips moved, 

but no sound 

came , while 1 in 




" YOU DROWNED MY FATHER, AND FOR THAT 



Dressier, 3 ' The Englishman's voice was once 
again under control. Ai The old and effete 
don't do that. You were safe as our guest 
two years ago ; you are safe as our prisoner 
now. Your precious carcass will be returned 
safe and sound to your Royal uncle at the end 
of the war, and my only hope is that your 
face will still bear those honourable scars. 
Moreover , if what you say is true, if the orders 
of your Government include shelling an open 
boat crammed with defenceless women and 
children^und neutrals at that — I can only 
say that their infamy is so incredible as to 
force one to the conclusion that they are not 
responsible for their actions, But — make no 
mistake — they will get their retribution." 

For a moment he fell silent, looking at the 
cowering, blood-stained face opposite him, 
and then a pitiful wail behind him made 
him turn round. 



by L^OOgle 



his eyes was the look of a 

man haunted. Travels watched him silently, 

and at length he spoke again, 

" As I said, your rulers will get their destr;s 
in time, but I think, Baron von DTesskr, 
your Nemesis has come on you already. 
That poor little kid is asking you for her 
mother. Don't forget it in the years to come, 
Baron, don't forget it," 

My story is finished. Later on, when some 
of the nightmare through which she had 
passed had been effaced from her mind by 
the great healer , Time, Maisie and the man 
who had come to her out of the grey waters 
discussed many things. And the story which 
the Prussian had told her after the dance 
on the flagship was finally discredited. 

Can anyone Tec orn mend me a good cheap 
book on a Things a Best Man Should Know " ? 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




MR. J. E. VEDRENNE. 
Pktta. b§ Ctitnde IlarrU 



The Reflections 

or a 

Theatrical Manager. 

J. E. VEDRENNE. 



According to a famous dramatic critic, Mr. J. E. Vedrenne— the producer of 
two of the most successful comedies of recent years, "Milestones" and "The 
Man Who Stayed At Home" — has discovered and given a "start" to more 
now-famous actors and actresses than any other mapager. In the following 
article, specially written for " The Strand Magazine," Mr. Vedrenne tells of 
some of his early experiences and relates many stories of famous actors, 
actresses, authors, arid celebrities he has met. 




N his own small way, and 
viewing those with whom he 
comes into contact from the 
standpoint of the general 
public, who would seem to be 
invariably keenly interested in 
leading lights of the theatrical 
world, I imagine that few people in their 
business careers meet more interesting " per- 
sonalities " than the pioneer and promoter 
of the theatre. 

And as one who has for some years played 
an active part in theatrical projects at home 
and abroad, I have been brought into personal 
touch with the majority of theatrical cele- 
brities. But when first I met them, many 
were unknown to the average theatre-goer. 

One of my earliest ventures in matters 
theatrical was at the Comedy Theatre, where 
I " managed " for, among others, Forbes- 
Robertson, Nat Goodwin, and Maxine Elliott, 
and where, by the way, I also " enjoyed " my 
first experience as a manager of a London 
theatre in what probably now sounds exceed- 
ingly unpatriotic — a German season ! 

But, happily, in those days " the sword was 
not unsheathed," and, full of enthusiasm 



and ambitious plans, I undertook this enter- 
prise with the greatest confidence. 

As though it had happened but yesterday, 
I well remember my first night of the German 
season at the Comedy in 1899. I was stand- 
ing on the steps of the theatre wondering 
whether this experiment would start me on 
the road to success when suddenly I noticed 
a black cat rubbing himself against my leg. 
Now, even those who regard superstition 
with scorn must have heard that the advent 
of a black cat to a theatre is popularly 
supposed to spell good luck. 

In my own case it didn't. 

We were announced to produce Goethe's 
" Faust." With the idea of " getting a 
move " on this masterpiece several directors' 
meetings were held, and, finally, in a burst 
of stupendous generosity, and as some sixteen 
special scenes were required (including one in 
Heaven), an extra credit was voted me of 
forty pounds ! 

The play rang up on the evening an- 
nounced at seven-thirty, and at 12.45 a.m. 
the garden scene had not been reached. At 
least two hours before that time the 
audience had commenced to dribble out, 



by L^OOgle 



U 1 1 I U I I I _' 



UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



62 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



with the not surprising result that by two 
o'clock in the morning, when the curtain at 
last rang down, only four hardened critics 
were left in the house, two of whom, I was 
afterwards told, were slumbering peacefully. 
I migrated to the Court Theatre shortly 
afterwards, where I began an association with 
Granville Barker which marked the first of 
not a few successful theatrical enterprises. 

Wonderful days, those Court days ! They 
began on October 18th , 1904, and lasted until 
June 29th, 1907. During that time thirty- 
two plays by seventeen authors were pro- 
duced, and nine hundred and forty-six per- 
foimances were given; but, since one triple 
bill and four double bills were included, the 
total number of performances of separate 
plays amounted to nine hundred and eighty- 
eight, distributed amongst many world- 
famous authors, including Bernard Shaw, 
Housrnan, Barker, Galsworthy, Masefield, 
Hankin, Ibsen, Maeterlinck, Hewlett, Eliza- 
beth Robins, and Euripides. 

At the Court Theatre we, Granville Barker 
and I, produced John Galsworthy's first 
play, u The Silver Box," When that famous 
playwright brought me the play in question 
he remarked to me that it was the first he had 
ever written* I said, " Is it really your first 
play ? n For a few seconds Galsworthy 
hesitated, and then replied, " Well, I wrote 
another before this^but I have burnt it. 3 * 

That significant reply instinctively caused 
me to believe that it had fallen to my lucky 
lot to come across an " extraordinary man," 

and ever since I 
have been more 
than grateful to 
that intuition, for 
" The Silver Box " 
has been followed 
by i( Strife/' 
s * Justice/ 1 M The 
Pigeon," "The 
Eldest Son," " The 
Fugitive," "The 
Mob/ 1 and other 
plays from the same 
master-hand. 

It was at the 
Court that we 
started the idea of 
giving matinitB on 
Tuesdays and 
Fridays with a 
one Tunning in the 




MR. GRANVILLE BARKER, 
rhotv. b» E II. i il 1 



different play from the 
evening bill, 

I remember our first failure was a play 
by Robert Vernon Harcourt entitled li A 

Digitized by Gt 



Question of Age/' This particular production 
showed early promise of not being likely to 
prove a success and after the second matinte 
we decided to take it off and to put up instead 
" Major Barbara/ 1 by Bernard Shaw, which 
had been most successful a few weeks before- 
Hearing of this intention on my part, Shaw 
at once came to see me in a great slate, and 
asked me why I had decided to make the 
change. I replied that it was a matter of 
finance, whereupon Shaw inquired, " What 
would be the difference in the takings of 
my play, * Major Barbara/ and the takings 
of Harcourt's play ? " I named a substantial 
sum, whereon Shaw replied, Cl Very well, 
let me pay the difference, and let the Harcourt 
play have its chance. 
It is one of his first 
efforts as an author, 
and I think he ought 
to be encouraged. 13 

Here is another 
Shaw story; During 
the rehearsals o f 
"Captain Brass- 
bound's Conversion/' 
Ellen Terry, who 
played the part of 
Lady Cecily Wayn- 
flete, had the 
misfortune to catch 
a mild attack of 
bronchitis, and this 
naturally i n t erf e red 
with her studying so 
long a part. Anxious not to disappoint the 
public with a postponement, I asked Shaw 
some two or three days before the date 
announced for the production whether Ellen 
Terry knew her lines. His reply was 
typically Shavian; u Well, she doesn't speak 
exactly the words that I wrote," he said, 
" but she speaks what I ought to have 
written." 

Writing of Ellen Terry reminds me of a 
wonderful compliment paid to that great 
artiste during her engagement at the Court 
Theatre. One day during the run of <( Cap- 
tain Rrassbound's Conversion/' when, as 
was invariably the case, a long queue had 
gathered at the doors, shortly after the open- 
ing of the theatre the business manager was 
summoned to make inquiries about an 
accident said to have occurred to an old lady 
who, in mounting the stairs to the tier allotted 
to the " gods," had slipped down- She 
had apparently sprained her ankle, and a 
doctor was sent for* To the manager's 
expressions of sympathy she said, " It is 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 




MISS ELLEN TEKKY. 



THE REFLECTIONS OF A THEATRICAL MANAGER. 



63 




'ELLEN TERRY RAN DOWNSTAIRS INTO THE BOOM WHERE THE OLD LADY 

HAD BEEN TAKEN, SPOKE A FEW WORDS TO HER, KISSED HER, AND GAVE 

HER A SIGNED PHOTOGRAPH OF HERSELF," 



not my foot I am worrying about. That was 
my own fault ; but I did so want to see Miss 
Terry. I had made the journey up from the 
country specially, and now I suppose I shall 
never see her/' This conversation was 
repeated to Miss Terry, who had just come 
into the theatre, and in her delightfully 
impulsive way she immediately exclaimed, 
11 Oh, the darling ! She shall see me; 1 And 
she ran downstairs into the room where the 
old lady had been taken } spoke a few 
words to her, kissed 
her, and gave her a 
signed photograph 
of herself. When 
the doctor arrived 
it was found that 
the old lady had 
broken her ankle 
rather badly, but as 
she was being lifted 
into the four-wheeler 
to be taken to the 
hospital sheappeared 
not to mind the 
accident in the least. 
She had seen Miss 
Terry and was per- 
fectly happy* 
It was durinjg my 




MR. DENNIS EADIE. 

rhuto* by Fjttlvici-tn d 1 ff<£hjU d. 



association with 
Granville Barker 
that I first had the 
good fortune to come 
across Dennis Eadie, 
who played several 
good parts with us, 
but none that he 
literally loathed so 
much as the rvh of 
Menelaus in ik The 
Trojan Women/ 7 

The first occasion 
on which he played 
this part he came 
to my room wearing 
what he described 
as a fireman's hel- 
met, and asked if he 
could have some 
holes punched in the 
side of this fearsome 
headgear as he could 
not hear what he 
was saying — and 
much less anybody 
else. 

Mcnelaus and 

Christopher Brent I 

Truly, time works many a transformation — 

and not the least among members of the 

theatre. 

About the time that Eadie and I became 
associated at the Royalty Theatre I saw 
Gladys Cooper for almost the first time in a 
sketch at the Coliseum , when she was appear- 
ing with Seymour Hicks, and there and then 
it struck me thai a girl with such beauty and 
charm and obvious intelligence would make a 
success as a comedy actress. 

1 therefore arranged to discuss future plans 
with her at once, with the result that, a few 
weeks later, she played the inginue part in 
ib Half a Crown," which, by the way, was a 
complete failure, and not merely half a 
catastrophe. 

Undeterred, however, we were determined 
that we would get Miss Cooper back with us, 
and so it happened, for six months later 
she came again to the Royalty Theatre, was 
seen by all the world and his wife, and made 
a conquest which will long be remembered. 
One of her greatest successes with us occurred 
in " The Pursuit of Pamela," by C\ B. Per- 
nald, which followed her performance of 
Dora in " Diplomacy/' for which production 
we " lent " her to Gerald du Maurier and 
Frank Curzon. 
Miss Cooper^jffi^^ifl^ias most theatre- 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 




"THE FIRST TIMH DEK'N'15 eadie played mene 

laus in the ' trojan women/ he came to 

my room wearing what he described as a 

fireman's helmet/* 

goers will assuredly remember^ also made a 
great hit in " Milestones," A truly colossal 
success this play, Good or bad weather ? 
principals or understudies^ it seemed not lo 
matter, for people filled the theatre just 
the name. I well remember that on one 
occasion, when a leading artiste had been 
suddenly taken ill at the last moment and 
replaced by an understudy who we feared 
Wuuld let the play down badly, a \isitor went 
up to the box-office during the interval and 
politely inquired who the new man was, 
as, he .said, " I like him much better than the 
original/* 

In passing, 1 may say that the tc making " 
of ** Milestones/ 1 surely one of the greatest 
theatrical successes seen in London for many 
years past j came about in a most unusual way, 
for Arnold Bennett and Edward Knoblauch, 
the joint authors, had actually never met 
until the idea of a play covering three 
generations occurred to both T when a mutual 
friend, Frank Vernon introduced one to the 

Digitized by G* 




MISS GLADYS COOPER, 
Photo, by PfiuUham A lian/irld. 



other in order that they should make one 
another's acquaintance and discover ho* 
well suited they were to collaborate* 

Apropos of the production of " Pamela/* 
in the pursuit of which that charming lady, 
Gladys Cooper, scored so great a success^ 
we w r ere called upon 
to engage several 
Japanese artistes 
whose appearance 
was essential in the 
Japanese scene of 
the play. All these 
were naturally dealt 
with through an 
interpreter— few of 
us talk the Japanese 
lingo fluently— with 
the sole exception 
of o n e j a Mr. 
Yamada ? who, I 
remember., was par- 
ticularly persistent 
in his argument for 
a higher salary than tliat which I felt 
justified in offering him. 

Finally, however, after discussing this matter 
from both an artistjc and a financial point 
of view, a satisfactory arrangement was 
agreed upon, under which he and his wife, a 
very charming little Japanese actress, con- 
tracted to appear* As he bowed his way out 
of my office; I remarked, " Well, Mr. Yamada 1 
you are a very good Japanese business man/' 
at which the little man replied with a beam- 
ing smile, the while showing a flashing set 
of excellent teeth, " Thank you very much— 
but, if you please — a, my -a father was a 
Scotchman." 

Another Japanese actor in " Pamela " 
was cast to play a Chinaman. He came to 

inform me that he 
could not undertake 
the part as he could 
not represent any- 
thing but one of his 
own nationality. So 
I explained that this 
would indeed be a 
ca tas trop he . M o re - 
over, I said, * 4 My 
partner, Dennis 
Eadie, plays people 
of any nationality. 
If I didn't consider 
you a great artiste, I 
would not ask you to 
play a Chinaman. 3 ' 

j** t bj < #«i*m»* 4t.*MMjfrfd, this argument 
urigmal Tram 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




THE REFLECTIONS OF A THEATRICAL MANAGER. 



65 




SIR A. CONAN DOYLE, 



appeared to him 
thoroughly convinc- 
ing, and I appre- 
ciated once more 
the truth of the 
saying that policy 
always demands 
politesse* 

Here is an anec- 
dote connected with 
that fine actor and 
best of good follows , 
Lewis Waller, Not 
very long ago Wall t r 
and 1 were staying 
with Sir Arthur 
Conan Doyle at his delightful house on the 
Crowborough heights. One evening after 
dinner Sir Arthur was showing us a bust of 
Sherlock Holmes, and remarked that he had, a 
few weeks before, received a communication 
frcm Germany asking for the kind help of the 
celebrated English detective in a murder case 
which presumably must have entirely baffled 
the well-organized minds of the Hun sleuth- 
hounds of the law. The Germans then 
evidently believed, and perhaps still believe, 
that Sherlock Holmes was a real person , in 
which case it almost gees without saying that 
by this time they have probably claimed this 
fascinating celebrity as a fellow-countryman. 
After the termination of our visit to Sir 
Arthur, Waller and I motored back to town, 

Waller driving, and on 
our way homewards 
passed through the 
village of Groom- 
bridge, Much struck 
by its rustic beauty 
and charm, we pulled 
up, wandered around 
its one little street, 
unci eventually went 
in to look at its old 
church, where there 
is a window dedicated 
to the memory of Sir 
Richard Waller, 
Knight of Groom- 
bridge, by whom 
Charles, Duke of 
Orleans, was rescued 
at the Battle of Agin- 
court, 141 5. A particularly interesting co- 
incidence this to both Waller and myself, as 
we were playing c< Henry V, n at the Lyric 
Theatre at the time. What a little world it 
isj to be sure ! 

Here let me mention that wonderful old 

VaL IiL—5. 

Digitized by LiOOQ It 




MLSS GBNEVrEVE WARD 
/ fcuta bg JUiUf ration* 11 arena. 



lady, Miss Genevieve Ward one of my oldest 
friends, who recently celebrated her eightieth 
birthday, and yet is still perhaps the greatest 
tragedy-actress in England at the present 
day* I saw her not long ago at the St, 
James's Theatre, where she played the part 
of the Duchess of Cheviot under Sir George 
Alexander's management— and, need I add, 
played it with conspicuous brilliancy. 

Here is an anecdote of another theatrical 
celebrity, Sir Charles Wyndham, which con- 
tains, by the way, a word of advice which 
youthful theatrical managers would do well 
to bear in mind. Some years ago I very 
nearly took the New Theatre from Sir Charles* 
In those days I was 
managing the Court 
Theatre in partner- 
ship with Granville 
Barker, and we had 
just produced four 
or five of the new 
Shaw plays, each of 
which had scored a 
" palpable hit." But 
it was cur custom 
then to run a play 
for a definite number 
of weeks and then 
change the bill 
whether the public 
support was gocd 
or ill. This could 
not be called a repertory system, but might 
mure appropriately have been tcimed a 
" short-run system,' 3 

With this policy, however, Wyndham did 
not agree at all, far I well remember his tell- 
ing me that, although he admired my pluck 
for doing this, it was nevertheless his fiim 
conviction that we should have made much 
more monev bv letting .,uch plavs as l( John 
Bull's Other Island," li You Never Can Tell," 
11 Man and Superman,' 5 IS Major Barbara," 
and u The Doctor's Dilemma S3 run themselves 
out j and he pointed out to me that the taking 
off of any of these plays must have had a 
distinct effect on the public. He was right. 
At the Royalty Theatre " Milestones 3J Tan 
for seven hundred performances, and ' The 
Man, Who Stayed at Home" for nearly six 
hundred performances. " The Pursuit of 
Pamela " and " My Lady's Dress " also ran 
for a considerable time. Since then w T e have 
profited by experience, and do not now inter- 
rupt the runs of plays. 

Judging from the tremendous popularity 
of tf Man and Superman " in America with 
Robert Loraine^ I have often wendered what 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




SIR CHAKLKS WYNDHAM, 



66 



THE STRAXD MAGAZINE. 



number of performances it would have reached 
at the Court Theatre if we had not repeatedly 
interrupted its run. But, there, it is idle to 
regret* Experientia deed* 

Writing of Loraine reminds me of the days 
when he played the part of Jan Redlander 
in " The Man From the Sea;' by W. J, Locke, 
at the Queen's Theatre. Those were the 
early days of his flying ambition, and I now 
frankly confess that I frequently felt very 
apprehensive as to what might happen to him 
before our play was produced. Two days 
before the production he flew across the Irish 
Channel and fell into the sea a few miles from 
the Irish coast, It will be remembered that 
he eventually got safely ashore with his 
machine. 

Fit as a fiddle and like Niche, all smiles* the 
next day he turned up at the theatre to the 
dress rehearsal, to be warmly congratulated 
on his wonderful achievement and mar- 
vellous escape* Taking him aside I said, 
" Yesj Loraine^ it's all very well, but suppose 
you had sunk in the sea and got drowned ? :} 

His answer was., 
iK Well, it wwld not 
have hurt anybody 
except myself/' To 
which I replied, 
1£ What about my 
production of * The 
Man From the 
Sea*?" 

He had never 
thought of this ! He 
had merely felt con* 
vinced that he would 
get through all right. 
And he did. Not only 
through the run of 
the play, but through 
many other more 
s t i rr i n g adventures 
he has recently gone when doing marvellously 
good work for us " Somewhere in Flanders " 
and " other places/' He has recently won the 
Military Cross. A good actor ? a wonderful 
man, and one of our bravest officers. Small 
wonder the theatrical profession is proud of 
him ! 

An actor I met early in his career when he 
was comparatively unknown, and who is now 
serving in the 1 Flying Corps, is Basil Hallam, 
whom I engaged to play one of his first good 
parts in London at our Royalty Theatre, 
The piece was called " The Honeymoon/ 1 by 
Arnold Bennett, and Miss Marie Tempest 
played the leading part- HallanVs part in the 
piece w f as that of the younger brother of 

Digitized by G* 




MR. ROBERT LORAINE. 
Phvto. by lltt&tratwna Burt<\u> 




the hero, a light -hearted, sympathetic, and 
amusing " knut ?J and worthy predecessor of 
Gilbert the Filbert. 

To revert from actors to authors, I should 
like to say that one of our most promising 
" discoveries " among authors is Maedonald 
Hastings , whose first play, " The New Sin/ J 
w p as produced some four years ago- I 
read the play one 
night j sent for 
Hastings the next 
morning, and in the 
space of a very few 
moments a contract 
was fixed up between 
us, This play con- 
sisted of seven male 
characters only, all 
of whom ? happily, 
seemed to please the 
critics, for it was 
unanimously agreed 
that u The New Sin " 
was perhaps the best- 
cast play seen in 

T , r * MK. BASIL HALLAM 

LondOU- p htftif bv f^hham ^ Han fit Id. 

Another "dis- 
covered +I author of ours is H, M. Harwood, 
who wrote " Interlopers/' and also M Please 
Help Emily" which provided Charles 
Haw trey and Gladys Cooper with such 
effective parts. 

And so the years roll om When I look 
back on the long tale of now successful actors 
and actresses who have appeared under my 
wing in some of their first engagements, I 
am sometimes almost rash enough to con- 
gratulate myself for a flitting moment on the 
fact that the fickle goddess may have been 
kind enough to have imbued me with an 
intuitive sense of discovery which has 
helped me to success. But in the pro^ 
motion of theatrical enterprises, in the 
engaging of artistes, in the furtherance of 
one's aims, objects, and ambitions— in fine, 
in the framing-out and passing in parade ol 
those requirements which " win out " pros- 
perity in a business career in the theatre^ there 
is no real road to success. 

How can it be achieved, then ? One must 
trust one's judgment, work hard, never doubt 
the wisdom of one's policy when once that 
policv has been thought out in every detail, 
and, last but not least, one must always 
keep a never-failing and ever-watchful look- 
out for new material, new authors, new 
actors, new ideas, and even then one may fail \ 

Success ? The key to success always rests 

'* on the knees of the gods." 
Original from 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



THF 

WHITE MOGUL. 

By PERCY ADAMS HUTCHISON. 

Illustrated by 

Thomas Somerfield. 





ELANEY got shut easy av 
his sins/' 

In the van of the Fast 
Freight, which had backed 
off to clear the track for the 
Limited, Tim M'Cool, the 
guard, had been holding forth 
on the tragedy at the roundhouse where (l Red tJ 
Delaney, a driver of notorious living, had 
been shot dead by the man he had wronged. 
" I'm talking through me hat, am I ? " 
The guard had challenged Tim's asser- 
tion- " Did I iver tell ye av the White 
Mrgul ? I did not ? Thin maybe I will, 
though it was long before I come with 
this company, when for the Continental Mid- 
land I wurrked. An' fwhat was the name av 
the man was at the bottom av things — 
Strayker, Matt Strayker. *Tis not like I'd 
forget ? meself being his fireman ; for in them 
days I was minded to become engine-driver. 
Afterwards I transferred me ambitions to 
the van, the sup'rintindint persuading me, 

" Our run was the Welk-Fargo, An', be 
token, the same was no cinch. The train 
was all sealed express cars, each as big as a 
house, with a coach on the end for the crew ; 
w hoi 1st the division being mostly level, we 
had to make up the time lost in the hills. 
An' we did it — aye, we did it — for better 
driver than Strayker never sat on an engine. 

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: :.. ■ >■■ 



" But if Matt was the best driver that 
ever pulled throttle he was the worst man. 
For why ? Not because av the drink, for 
he did not drink ; an* not because he was 
cruel an* mean, as he was both. But because 
—well, ' a bit av flirtation ing now an* again/ 
sez I to him one day, ' be way av pastime, ye 
understand, does no great harm. But I 
misdoubt if it is any pastime with yeself/ I 
sez. 

" * Tis not/ he answers, laughing a wicked 
laugh, * Tis fwhat lamed men call an 
obsession/ 

' Tm no lamed man/ I sez. ( But the 
session ye are like to have the Judgmint Day 
is not one I'd be wishful after meself,' 

( With that he slanged me east an' west, 
an' told me to stick to my job, for he cud 
attend to his. So I kept me thoughts to 
meself, 

" The Wells-Fa rgo was a night run, we 
leaving the roundhouse to pick up the train 
at about seven. An 1 as we wud be making 
ready to leave the stall, the engine of the 
Eastern Mail wud be coming in. The driver 
av this was a man be the name av Karlstrom, 
an ? 'twas out av Noroway, ot some other av 
them furrin parts, he was come* He had 
been in the lumber-camps, North, before he 
took to the rail, an J he was straight and 
grand, like the trees he had lived among, an' 

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THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



his shoulders broad from swinging the axe. 
But, be token j he was net a young man, an' 
being slow av speech, not quick with the come- 
back, he kept mostly to himself. This led 
some to mistake him^ Strayker being one. 

14 ' Yellow , is it ? ? sez L * Then 'tis colour- 
blind I am, an* needing the doctor/ For if 
there was lver a man I wud not have been 
yearning to arrouse, 'twas Karlstrom. 

" Like iv : ry man that is a man — an 3 many 
that ain't — Karlstrom had a sweet hearty an* 
he was saving to build a bit av a house against 
the wedding day. Her head did not come to 
his shoulders, but her cheeks was pink an' 
white, like the childers', an/ her smile was as 
the leaves in spring, She was younger than 
Karlstrom by a deal, being little more than 
out av school ; an* became she was so young, 
an 5 their lone child as well, her father an* 
mother w p as not wishful to lose her. So the 
wedding was put off. But always wud she 
come to meet Karlstrom when he got 
in from the run — the roundhouse 
was on the edge av the yard — an' 
whoilst she wud he waiting she was 
never wanting for a wurrd to pass 
the time av day. But 'twas only 
because she had friendly ways with 
all, for there was not a thought av 
badness in her. 

u When Strayker first begun to 
take notice av Netta — the name was 
short for Annette — I cannot >ay. 
But sorry the day for her. Yet he 
did not go about the business in any 
hasty or bungling fashion, for he 
was no apprentice, but master, aye, 
an 1 past-master, av his craft. Belike 
'twas a chance meeting here, another 
chance meeting there — though there 
was no chance about it on his side — 
then she asking him in, maybe, for 
a cup av tay, he talking civil an J soft 
the while, keeping his real purpose 
hid. Ye can see how a slip av a gurrl 
cud be led into the trap. 

" * Let be ! Let be !' sez I to him 
more than wanst. ' Are there not 
women enough in the wurrld/ I sez, 

* that ve must go traipsing after a 
child ?' 3 

11 l The child has need av divar- 
shun/ he wud answer. 

** An 3 though well I knew fwhat 

* divarshun' gin 'rally meant for Stray- 
ker , I cud not go to Karlstrom with 
only me suspicionings for fear av 
making a bad business worse. All 
I cud do was to prav that the saints 

Digitized by Google 



might protect the lambkin, an' hold me tongue 
in me head. But many's the time since I have 
wished 1 had took the chance an' gone.* 

A cattle-train shuffled past on the down 
track, the car-loads of hogs raising a din 
which drowned the rumble of the wheels. 

" Lord help the crew av that Noah's Ark ! *' 
exclaimed Tim, petulantly. * Why is it 
the noble steer will go quietly to slaughter, 
rayjoicing in his myrtherdom, whoilst the 
undayi int pig must puncture heaven with his 
cries ? %> And not until the train had moved 
beyond all hearing did Ihe little Irishman's 
wrath abate, 

" How did it end ? " Tim picked up the 
thread at last. ** How cud it end with a gurrl 
meaning no harm, except ;in' only in une 
way ? One day Annette was missing, an 1 
the next, an* the nuxt. Karlstrom was nfgh 
out av his senses, an' telegraphting to ivry 
city on the map, with only the watchfulness 




" BELIKE 'TWAS A CHANCE MEETING HERE, ANOTHER 
CHANGE MEETING THERE — THOUGH THERE WAS NO CHANCE 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE WHITE MOGUL. 



av his fireman keeping him from passing 
signals an' piling his train in the ditch. Then 
they found her — in the river— her pretty hair 
matted with weeds, an' the light gone out 
av her eyes forever, 

li Ye might think Strayker wud have left 
the road when he saw the results av his wurrk. 



" ' Strayker/ sez he, ' av all the men alive 
an' in the wurrki this day, yeself is the least 
fitted to walk the land. The soul is rotten in ye. 
An' if I shud rid the wurrld av your carcass, 
men wud thank me for the deed. But if I hold 
me hands from killing ye, 'tis not because I cud 
not „ for between me finger I cud break ye in 




*' * NEVERTHELESS/ HE SEZ, 'DEATH SHALL COME, AN* YESELF WILL KNOW IT 

WHEN IT IS TOO LATE/ " 



But in addition to his other sins the baste had 
the sin av conceit, an' he had hid his steps 
so well he thought he cud stay an* brazen 
the matter out. Karlstrom, however, went 
away, the supYintindint giving him leave, 
back to the North to tramp in the forests 'till 
he cud see things clear. Then after a time 
he returned an' went out again on his run. 

u Maybe a month went by, maybe two, I 
disre member* Karlstrom had never wanst 
spoke to Strayker, or walked past our stall, 
but this evening he come straight to us an 1 
called Strayker from the cab- Matt climbed 
down, an' meself went after him, for it was 
murder I expected to see done* An' yet mis- 
taken I was. Karlstrom spoke low ; but his 
eyes, which was blue-grey, like the steel av a 
connecting-rod j was hard as steel, an* his 
mouth iron. 

Digitized by L^OO 9 le 



two. Why then do I not, when 'twud be so 
easy ? Because to kill ye wud be showing ye 
mercy, an' no mercy shall ye have from me, 
to whom ye showed no mercy/ 

hi * Hard wurrds breaks no bones/ sez 
Strayker, breaking in. But Karlstrom did not 
heed him an' went on. 

" * Nevertheless/ he sez, * death shall come, 
an' yeself will know it when it is too late. 
Ye wud flee, but cannot, for soft arrums shall 
hold ye- An' the signal-lamps shall not save* 
And a headlight shall he a flamin' sword/ 

11 A Ye've no ividence,' sez Strayker. 

11 f I'm on the track,' answers Karlstrom, 
looking him square, * An 1 when ye see me 
in the night, leaning from the cab ' 

il But Strayker wud not hear him further, 
but turned sharp an' climbed aboard. He 
spoke no wurrd, but his f-irc was wurrking 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



7° 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



hard, an' when we went on the turntable he 
cud scarce balance the engine. Before we 
was out av the house, however, he was laugh- 
ing his wickea laugh, an' calling Karlstrom 
names, saying the man was weak in the head. 
To tell the truth, I was meself fair puzzled, 
an' not able to make sense av half I had heard. 
I^ast av all cud I understand Karlstrom's 
wurrds about leaning from the cab at night, 
Lis being a day run. But before the books was 
closed I knew — yes, an' Strayker knew also. 

" If ye was acquainted with the Midland, 
as ye are not, ye wud remember that it carries 
a deal av fruit. Up to the time av which I have 
been telling the fruit cars had all been hooked 
on passenger trains, but the comp'ny had 
come to the opinion it wud not mix traffic, 
an' it had been planned to put the cars 
together an* run them as a freight express. 
Then the growers asked that the cars be 
painted white — for the advertising, ye under- 
stand — an' the comp'ny had ordered it done. 
The engine which was to take the train over 
our division was a big Mogul, new from the 
shops, an' the cab an' tender had been made 
to match the cars, and a sort av silver burnish 
— 'twas not paint — given the boiler. A kind 
av circus train it was, an' circus engine, an' 
all av us was wond'ring who would get the run, 
when wurrd went round that Karlstrom had 
asked for it the day he come back, an' that the 
White Mogul was going to be given to him. 
I cud not see why he shud want the train 
after driving the Mail/ an" then the time-card 
for the fruit came out, an' it was to be a night 
run. 

" As maybe I've said, the Wells-Fargo left 
our end av the division at seven to go West, 
an' Karlstrom's new train was to leave the 
other end at about the same time. He wud 
be coming East, as ye can see, the two trains 
being timed to pass at a station called Ante- 
lope, an' the road having but single irons, one 
av us wud have to take the turnout for the 
other. 

" For a week, or maybe it was two, we met 
as scheduled, an' if Karlstrom was in the cab 
av the Mogul, as av course he was, we saw 
no sign av him. An' ourselves might have been 
anywheres else for all the heed he gave to us. 
Then there come a night when the other train 
was a bit late, an' we had to wait for it. 

" Prisintly we heard the whistle up the line, 
but we cud see nothing, for 'twas a night av 
black cloud an' driving rain, the kind av 
night when a man keeps the window av his 
cab closed an' his head inside. Then the head- 
light showed, like a candle on a child's cake it 
was for smallness, an' a burst av lightning 

Digitized by VjOOQiC 



chopping the dark in two, we saw the Moguli 
An' Kailstrom was leaning from the cab. 
Then the skies closed, an' the train was hid. 
A moment later he was at the switch. And 
as the engine swung into the turnout the 
headlight flashed full an' strong along our 
boiler and into Strayker's face. In a second 
'twas gone. But in that second Matt had 
started in his seat as if a hand had struck him, 
an' 'twas clear he had remembered Karl- 
strom's wurrds — that a headlight shud be 
a flaming sword. 

" After our train was under way I had a 
chance to think. An' I asked meself, wud 
Karlstrom be leaning out the next night ? 
An' when the next night come he was leaning 
out the same way, an' the next after that, 
an' iv'ry night. Strayker wud start from his 
seat each time the light flashed on him, an* 
often I wud have to tell him twice that the 
semaphore had dropped before he cud get 
himself together to pull out. 'Twas the cold 
iear had gripped him. An' 'tis me own 
opinion he wud have left the road then an' 
there, except that he was deep in some new 
devil's game, an' the conceit av the man would 
not let him break it off. So it was again as 
Karlstrom had said — that Matt wud flee an' 
cud not, for soft arrms would hold him. 
He took to drink also. An' when a man that 
has not touched liquor takes to the drink, 'tis 
the beginning av the end av things. 

" ' 'Tis so I'll forget,' sez he, cne day, not 
sensing twhat he had said. An' though he did 
not speak av Netta, I knew 'twas she he meant, 
an' that guilty he was, guilty as sin. 

" However, neyther the cold fear nor the 
dhrink nor the remembrance av his sin had 
any effect on Matt when it come to driving 
his train, an' when the comp'ny gave out 
the year's prize for the driver with the best 
record — a gold watch it was — the prize went 
to him. 

" Maybe a month had gone, maybe more — 
I disremimber. Barring a few minutes now 
an' again both trains had been on time at 
Antelope, passing as they was timed to do. 
Then on a night when we stopped at the 
station an order was waiting for us. The fruit 
train was late, an' we had been given fifty 
minutes av her time. The place where we was 
to meet them was called Medicine Run, a siding 
with no station an' no telegrapht operator. 

" Our conductor — Burke was his name — 
signed first to show that the order was 
received an' understood. But when Strayker 
took the sheet, he cud only turn it over an* 
over, his face gone white under the grime, 
an' the pencil .shaking in his fingers. 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



THE WHITE MOGUL. 



7* 




STRAYKER WUD START FROM HIS SEAT EACH TIME THE LIGHT FLASHED ON HIM 



" f Hang it f man ! J sez Burke, ' Have ye 
forgot your name ? ' 

At that Strayker got down some kind av 
scrawl p an* the two av u% climbed aboard. 
The semaphore was already down, giving us 
a safe tracks but Matt did not open up* 

M ' Maybe ye lake Antelope to be a summer 
resort, and are wishful to spend the vacation 
here/ I sez, when the minutes went by with- 
out his getting under way. 

" * Tis the lights, Tim/ he answers, an' the 

njiQiiizK] by Vj(j\jy HC 

o 



hoirors was in his voice as he spoke. But he 
jerked. the throttle wide, an 1 the engine gave 
a leap that near broke the train in two, an' 
we shot forward on the woildest ride ever 
engineman made. Afterwards KarlstronVs 
wurrds came back to me — that the signal- 
lamps shud not save — but I did not remimber 
then. 

" From Antelope the track was straight for 
miles, with no grade that ye cud not have 
rolled water up. But lor all that Matt was 

IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



r- 



THE STRASD MAGAZIXE. 




. ■ " ■ » t '-V ■ - -'- " ' — 





crying to me for power, an' for more power, 
as if we had had a velocipede under us instead 
av an engine, an ? I was heaving in the coal by 
bucket fills* lie had the reverse hooked clear 
up ; an' by the time we was ten minutes out 
the old rocking-horse was doing fifty mile to 
the hour at the laste* 

"I was still down heaving in coal, though 
me back was cracking in the middle^ when, 
slam ! I heard the shoes clamp on the 

Digitized by dOOQlC 



"the water kept me from goixc. 

drivers, an' rneself went pitching against 
the firebox door. I've the scar av the burn 
to this day. 

u * Saints in Heven ! ' I shouted, jumping 
for me seat, ' Fwhat is it P 5 

** * The White Mogul/ yells Strayker, 
jamming over the reverse, an' nigh blowing 
out the cylinder heads. 

" 7 Twas moonlight, full moonlight, so that 
I cud see as far> almost^ as by day. 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE WHITE MOGUL, 



73 




OFF MY HEAD, AN* I CRAWLED OUT/' 

1 There's no Moguls/ sez I, f white, 
green, or any other colour.' 

" But he wud not believe, an' only pleaded 
with me to look again. An' I looked- An' 
there was a row av scrub trees growing be side 
the rails. 

" By this time the train was at a standstill, 
an' Burke running up. 

u * Fw hat's the trouble ? J he called* pant* 
ing, for he was a heavy man. /" 

Digitized by LiOOS lc 



" Strayker, who was still in his seat, answers 
he thinks there do be something wrong with 
his brakes* So he gets down an' taps on the 
shoes an' pretinded to examine the pump. 
But all the time he held the torch so Burke 
or meself shud not look at him square. Then 
prisintly he climbed aboard, called in his flag, 
an ? we started up, 

* 4 How long we ran I cannot say, maybe 
twenty minutagiimsdJbBnJess. I was down 

IVERSITV OF MICHIGAN 



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THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



firing, as before, but keeping well back from 
the boiler head, when, slam ! on goes the 
brakes again, with Strayker crying out that 
the other train is coming, an' jamming over 
the reverse. I dropped me shovel, though 
maybe not so quick this time, an' looked 
ahead. An' there was no other train, but 
only a bunch av empties on a siding. 

" Burke came up, but he wud take no more 
av Strayker' s excuses. 

" ' There's nothing wrong with the air/ sez 
he. ' I can tell by the way it bit on the train. 
'Tis me own opinion that it's dhrunk ye are/ 
he sez, ' an' I'll report it if ye stop again.' 

" Strayker, who had steadied himself 
against the driver, was shaking so he cud 
scarce stand, the sweat falling off him in great 
drops. But if he had been dhrunk the day, 
an' I'm not saying he had been, for I do not 
know, he was sober then. 'Twas fear come 
back on him, the cold, black fear ; an' he was 
beyant the stage when liquor can touch. For 
all the man's wicked deeds I cud not be with- 
out pity as we started wanst an' again, him 
prayirtg me for steam as* a dying man prays 
for air. An' I gave him steam, throwing in 
coil till the flames licked through the tubes 
an' out the stack. 

" Fwhat with the stops we had made, an 
the tinkering with the air, an' all, the fifty 
minutes the despatcher had given us was 
using up, an' Medicine still siv'ral miles away. 
But the engine was eating up the ground in 
big chunks, plunging like a rampaging bull, 
the cars behind pounding an' smashing at 
the drawbars. If we had been doing fifty 
mile the hour before, we was doing sixty then. 
As well I knew, the track was not ballasted 
for that weight av train tearing at such a 
speed, an' I was expecting iv'ry moment we 
wud go into the ditch, an' though Strayker 
was still crying for power, me mind was made 
up. 

" ' Ye can rack the heart out av yeself/ 
sez I, ' an' the bowels out av your machine 
if ye like- It's crazy ye are/ I sez, ' blind 
crazy, an' ye' 11 go into Medicine on the steam 
ye have.' An' I tossed me shovel behind 
me an' got into me seat. 

" We was on another stretch av straight 
track, but between us an' the siding the road 
swung around a bit av a hill or butte. Me 
eyes was on that curve — an' sudden me heart 
went still. 



" Rounding the bend shot a headlight — 
dim in the moon. But the same moonlight 
that dimmed the head-lamp showed the train 
behind clear ; the train gleaming behind, an' 
the engine. 'Twas meself yelled that time, 
for it was the Mogul an' no ghost — the White 
Mogul, coming like mad. Karlstrom had 
disobeyed his orders, as he had meant to do 
as soon as chance offered. 'Twas for that, 
an' that only, he had asked for the night run. 
His wurrds in the roundhouse was plain to 
me then, an' I leaped across the cab. 

" Strayker held one Hand on the throttle 
an' one on the air-valve, but he stirred 
neyther hand. Petrified he was, an' that's 
no figure av spache. I drove in the throttle 
with a blow av me fist ; but Matt's fingers 
were gripped on the air-lever an' I cud not 
turn it, an' I cud not move the reverse for 
his body was in the way. The light av the 
gauge-lamp was on Strayker's face ; an' it 
was green an' yellow, like a corpse. But he 
was not dead, for I heard him groan. Then 
I did the only thing left me — jumped. 

" I landed in the Run, an' lucky was it I 
did, for else me neck had been broke at 
the least. As it was, I went through to the 
bottom, smashing me shoulder. But the 
water kept me from going off me head, an' 
I crawled out. 

" Up the track was the wreck, flames 
bursting from it, an' I ran towards it. But I 
cud not go fast for the pains shooting through 
me, an* before I got to the spot the fire was 
eating iv'rything. In the middle av the fire 
stood the two engines, upright, the pilots 
pointing to the sky, an' the wheels locked 
together in a way strange to see. Karlstrom 
had been crushed under his cab ; an' his 
fireman, who had ividintly run back over the 
tank an' tried to cut the air-pipe between it 
an' the cars, was dead also. An' under our 
engine, so we cud not get at him, was 
Strayker, pinned fast, the flames coming 
nearer an' nearer. . . ." 

The warning whistle of the Limited re- 
called to us the reality of the moment, and we 
rushed for the door, crowding out on the 
platform as the great Express catapulted by. 
A " spare " driver was in the cab of the dead 
Delaney— for the limited had been his train* 

" Aye," said Tim, as he gave the signal to 
go ahead, " aye, as I said at the beginning, 
1 Red ' got shut easy av his sins." 



by Google 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



PERPLEXITIES 

By HENRY E. DUDENEY. 



307.— THE HORSE-SHOE GAME. 
This little game, well-known to the Alsatians, is 

an interesting companion to our " Noughts and 
Crosses." There are two 
players. One has two 
white counters, the other two 
black. Playing alternately, 
each places a counter on a 
vacant point, where he leaves 
it. When all are played, you 
slide only, and the player is 
beaten who is so blocked 
that he cannot move. In the 
example, Black has just 
placed his lower counter. 
White now slides his lower 

one to the centre, and wins. Black should have 

played to the centre himself, and won. Now, which 

player ought to win at this game ? 



Solutions to Last Months Puzzl 



lizzies. 




308.— FIND YOUR ENEMY. 
Write down the year of your birth ; add the 
number of days in last year ; deduct the number of 
months in a year ^add the number of days in a week ; 
add your age this year ; multiply by 10 ; deduct the 
number of days in this year ; deduct the number of 
years in a century ; add the number of fingers on one 
hand; deduct the year the war broke out. If now 
you substitute for every figure the corresponding 
letter of the alphabet— A for 1, B for 2, etc., allowing 
O to remain O, you will be confronted by an enemy. 
Beware ! 



309.— THE FALSE SCALES, 
A pudding, when put into one of the pans of these 
scales, appeared to weigh 40Z. more than nine-elevenths 




of its true weight, but when put into the other pan 
it appeared to weigh 31b. more than in the first pan. 
What was its true weight ? 

310.— MATE WITH THE 
PAWN. 
Here is a pretty little old 
puzzle by D. Julien. It is quite 
easy when you hit on the idea. 
White to play and mate with the 
pawn in five moves. Part of board 
is omitted to save space. 




311.— A RELATIONSHIP PUZZLE. 
A correspondent informs me that this is a well- 
known catch in Greece. One man says of his com- 
panion : " This man's mother was my mother's 
mother-in-law." What was the relationship ? 

Google 



303.— REFLECTED WRITING. 
Man is a symmetrical animal — symmetrical to a 
median vertical line. As a result his actions are 
often symmetrical, the movements of his left hand, 
for example, frequently being an exact reflection of 
those of # the right hand. Describe a number of lines 
and curves in the air with your right hand and will 
that the left hand shall do what the other does ; the 
movements of one hand will be a reflection of those 
of the other. Now take a pencil in each hand, place 
the points together on a sheet of paper, and write a 
word with the right hand, willing that the other hand 
shall do the same thing. The left hand should produce 
an exact reflection of the writing. And the pencil in 
the right hand can be dispensed with, the movement 
of the forefinger being sufficient. In this way reflected 
handwriting can probably be written by anybody 
.without difficulty. 



304.— ACADEMIC COURTESIES. 
THERE must have been 10 boys and 20 girls. The 
number of bows girl to girl was therefore 380, of boy 
to boy 90, of girl with boy 400, and of boys and girls 
to teacher 30, making together 900. It was not 
said that the teacher made any bows, and the given 
total, 900, excludes their possibility. 



305.— THE TWENTY-TWO GAME. 

Apart from the exhaustion of cards, the winning 
series is 7, 12, 17, 22. If you can score 17 and leave 
at least one 5-pair of both kinds (4 — 1, 3 — 2), you 
mdst win. If you can score 12 and leave two 5-pairs 
of both kinds, you must win. If you can score 7 
and leave three 5-pairs of both kinds, you must win. 
Thus, if the first player plays a 3 or 4, you play a 4 
or 3, as the case may be, and score 7. Nothing can 
now prevent the second player from scoring 12, 17, 
and 22. The lead of 2 can also always be defeated 
if you reply with a 3 or a 2. Thus, 2—3, 2—3, 2—3, 
2 — 3 (20), and, as there is no remaining 2, second 
player wins. Again, 2—3, 1—3, 3—2, 3—2 (19), and 
second player wins. Again, 2—3, 3—4 (12), or 2—3, 
4—3 (12), also win for second player. The intricacies 
of the defence 2—2 I leave to the reader. The best 
second play of first player is a 1. 

The first player can always win if he play 1, and 
in no other way. Here are specimen games : 1 — 1, 
4—1, 4—1, 4 06) wins. 1—3, 1—2, 4—i, 4—1, 
4 (21) wins. 1—4, 2 (7) wins. 1—2, 4 (7) wins. 



306.— THE WRONG MOVE. 
Place a Black knight where the White knight is 
and a White pawn at Queen's 7th. Now White 
announced his last move, ** Pawn takes knight, 
becoming a knight, checkmate ! " This was quite 
correct, only he picked up the wrong Black knight. 
If he had taken the other knight, as intended, it was 
checkmate. It must have been a Black knight that 
he captured, or thetftn&l &WYI possible. 

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x. : 



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Ike 

CASTAWAYS 



(By 



W. W. JACOBS. 



Illustrated by JVill Owen. 



\ 




CHAPTER XI. 
E good," said Mr. Biggs. 

Mr. Bob Watson, his 
assistant, who had got the 
afternoon off, waved his 
hand and strode away 
jauntily. Nearly at the gate 
however he paused, and, eye- 
ing a small figure that had just entered, turned 
round and signalled to Mr. Biggs. The small 
figure, supporting an enormous left cheek 
with a not over-clean hand, scowled at him 
darkly, and continued on its way to the garage. 
Mr. Watson, much interested, followed. 

" Yes, sir ? " said Mr. Biggs, with a wink 
at Mr. Watson. " What can I do for you, sir ? 
Why, bless my soul, I seem to know that face ! 
And yet somehow I don't seem to know it. 
Do you know it, Bob ? " 

Mr. Watson shook his head. " It's a perfect 
stranger to me," he said, in a puzzled voice. 
" Seems to have a sort of likeness to that 
silly little page Albert." 

" It's much better-looking than Albert," 
said Mr. Biggs ; " better nourished, too." 

" It's something like our Albert might 
be, though, after kissing a honey-bee what 
didn't want to be kissed," maintained Mr. 
Watson. 

"I've got a message for you from the 
guv'nor," said the boy, speaking with 
difficulty from the right-hand side of his 
mouth. 



" It is Albert ! " said Biggs, with an air 0/ 
great surprise. " Well, I never did. How well 
you are looking, Albert ! Why, your left cheek 
is almost grown-up." 

" Tooth-ache," said Albert, indistinctly. 
" Abscess. I've got to go to the dentist.'' 

44 Well, run away, Albert," said Mr. Biggs, 
with a benevolent smile. " We don't want 
to keep you. But it's a pity to spoil that 
cheek." 

" You've got to take me," said Albert, with 
a horrible leer of triumph. " Mr. Carstairs 
said so. To Bosham, thirteen miles off. I like 
motoring." 

Mr. Biggs's smile vanished with a sudden- 
ness that was almost startling, and he stood 
gazing in helpless fury at the small figure 
before him. 

" I like motoring," repeated Albert, making 
a praiseworthy attempt to smack his lips. 
" And you are to start at once. Mr. Carstairs 
said so. Mr. Markham has been on the 'phone, 
and I have got an appointment at three. 
Hurry up ! " 

Hardly able to believe his ears, Mr. Biggs 
caught his breath, and for one brief moment 
toyed with the idea of putting both cars out 
of action. Then his gaze fell on the grinning 
Watson and his expression changed. 

" If you want something for yourself. 
Bob," he said, taking a pace towards 



him, " you've only got to say so, you 
know." * 
cprrigh,, „*. by w. -^||^ RS | T y QF M | C H|GAN 



<1 



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" I don't/' said the other } retreating. 
" So long. Be pood." 

The few but powerful words wrenched from 
Mr. Biggs died away in the recesses of the 
parage. He tore his jacket from its peg, 
put on his cap with a bang, and, walking to 
the front of the car, started the engine. 
The unexpected appearance of the butler 



The car went on for sixty or seventy yards, 
and, pulling up, waited for the indignant 
Allien to overtake it. His attempt to get up 
in front was promptly frustrated by the 
chauffeur. 

S1 In behind/ 4 said that gentleman, briefly, 
*' I ought to ride in front by rights/' said 
the boy, rebeHiously, 



i 




IT IS ALBERT ! SAID BIGGS, WITH AN AIR OF GREAT SURPRISE. 



provided the finishing touch to his dis- 
comfiture. 

" Why don't you make haste, Albert ? 7 * 
demanded the butler, with a fine disregard of 
Mr. Biggs. 

" I did tell him to hurry up, sir/* said 
the boy. " I suppose he is doing his best. 
I think he is." 

A weird, choking noise, instantly sup- 
pressed, proceeded from the interior of the 
suffering Mr. Biggs. 

" Get out of the way/' he said, addressing 
the butler; " I'm coming out." 

He came out so suddenly that the butler 
had to side-step with more haste than dignitv. 

D igilized by Vj OO Q I 



" You ought to be buried by rights,'' 
retorted Mr. Biggs, dispassionately. " Get 
in, unless you want me to drive off without 
you. And hide that face in a pocket- hand- 
kerchief —if youVe got one. tJ 

He sat looking straight in front of him, 
turning a deaf ear to the instructions given 
to the boy by the butler, who had come up 
— instructions on the need for haste if the 
appointment was to be kept and trouble with 
Mr, Carat airs avoided. Also that it was a 
business visit, and no " joy- riding " was to 
be permitted. 

4t And consider yourself lucky/' con- 
cluded iljafqjfiif^irlsj^flij impressively, " that 

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you Iiave a car to ride in and a fairly capable 
man to drive you." 

The fairly capable man let in his clutch 
so sharply that Albert nearly rolled off his 
seat as the car started off. Then he adjusted 
himself comfortably, and, leaning hack, pre- 
pared to enjoy himself as much as his malady 
would permit. It was his first motor-ride t 
and for a time the aching tooth was almost 
forgotten. 

The village street was somewhat busy, and 
Mr. Biggs, slowing down through the traffic, 
went slower still at the sight of a stylish figure 
in front of the general shop. He brought the 
car to a standstill, and Miss Mudge, with 
a bright smile, turned towards him. 



"Poor Albert! 1 ' said the girl, with 
womanly sympathy, " Does it hurt you 
much, dear? M 

"Who are you Mearing'?" croaked the 
offended youth, " Of course it hurts. If 
the chauffeur doesn't hurry up I shall miss 
my appointment/ 1 

"Oh, what a temper he is in ! " exclaimed 
Miss Mudge, drawing back in pretended 
alarm. " Don't let me detain you, Mr. Biggs, 
Good-bye/' 

" There's no hurry/' declared the chauffeur. 
" You mustn't take any notice of Albert, 
Nobody does. Why not hop on and come 
along with us ? " 

Miss Mudge shook her head. " I should 




rt ' OH, WHAT A TEMPliR HE ^ 1H I* EXCLAIMED MISS MUDGE, DRAWING BACK IN 

PRETENDED ALARM," 



" Unexpected pleasure/ 3 declared the 
chauffeur, politely. 

11 Where are you off to ? " inquired Miss 
Mudge, with a glance at the small figure 
behind. 

lfc Bosham/' replied Mr, Biggs, " I'm 
taking this thing to have a milk-tooth 
pulled out." 

ized by Google 



like to," she said : " but I'm only off till half- 
past four. My lady said I was to be sure 
and be in by then. She's going out/' 

11 Half - past four ? " said Mr. Biggs, u Why, 
there's heaps and heaps of time/' 

He leaned across and opened the door, 
and Miss Mudge , after a moment's hesitation, 
stepped in and took the seat beside him. 

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" I hope my hat will stick on," she said, 
doubtfully. " It wasn't made for motoring." 

" I'll go easy," said Mr. Biggs, regarding 
it with open admiration. " If I might say so, 
it suits you wonderfully." 

Miss Mudge sighed. " You ought to have 
seen the one I had last year," she said. 
" It's a pity that fashions change so. You 
no sooner get something that suits you than 
something else comes in." 

" How is this for speed ? " inquired Mr. 
Biggs, who was doing a gentle twelve miles 
an hour. 

" Just right," said Miss Mudge. " I like 
going slow ; you can see the scenery better. 
Talking about scenery, did you know I'm 
going with my lady in the yacht ? She's 
promised to take me. It ought to be 
heavenly." 

Mr. Biggs's face fell. " Must you go ? " 
he inquired. 

"Why, I want to go," said the other. 
" I wouldn't miss it for worlds." 

The chauffeur's face grew more sombre. 
" And leave all your friends behind ? " he 
said, reproachfully. 

" Perhaps they'll be glad to get rid of 
me," said Miss Mudge, flippantly. " Besides, 
I sha'n't leave them all behind ; Mr. Markham 
is coming to look after things. Mr. Carstairs 
thinks a lot of him, I am told." 

" I suppose Markham told you so," said 
the chauffeur, trembling with wrath. 

The girl shook her head. " Everybody 
says so," she replied, softly. 

Mr. Biggs drove on in silence. Vitriolic 
things trembled on his lips, things unfit for 
the delicate ears of Miss Mudge. 

" I wish October was here," she said, 
presently. "I've always wanted to see the 
world, and it's delightful to see it that way. 
No trains to catch, no packing up and 
moving from place to place. It's heavenly. 
If I don't have a good time it won't be my 
fault." 

Mr. Biggs grunted, and, looking straight 
before him, drove on steadily. 

" Don't you wish you were coming ? " 
inquired the girl, leaning towards him. 

" Do you wish I was ? " countered Mr. 
Biggs, also leaning a little bit out of the 
perpendicular. 

" I shouldn't mind," was the reply. 

Mr. Biggs leaned a little more in her direc- 
tion, until a tendril of hair brushed lightly 
against his cheek. He drove on in a kind of 
pleasant dream, until a sensation of hot air 
playing on the back of his neck brought him 
suddenly back to earth again. He turned 



fiercely, and the pallid face of Albert receded 
to a safe distance. 

" Hurry up," mumbled that young gentle- 
man. " I shall miss my appointment." 

" I'll ' hurry ' you," said the indignant 
chauffeur, in a fury. ,c How dare you stick 
that unwholesome face of yours against a 
lady's ? What do you mean by it ? What 
did you say ? " 

" I said it wasn't so close as yours," replied 
Albert, " and neither it was. I've been watch- 
ing you. You were told to get me to the 
dentist's at three." 

To Miss Mudge's great surprise, Mr. Biggs 
touched something on the wheel and the 
speed increased every second. When the 
speedometer was showing thirty miles per 
hour she looked at him inquiringly, and in 
return got a faint wink from his left eyelid. 
The speedometer climbed up to thirty-five 
and then the needle began to drop back 
again. 

" Something wrong," said Mr. Biggs, with 
another faint movement of the eyelid. 
" Sparking-plug, I think." 

He pulled up fifty yards farther on, and, 
ignoring the request of Albert for informa- 
tion, raised the bonnet and peered in. Then 
he came back again, and, requesting the girl 
to stand up, raised the lid of her seat and took 
out some tools. 

" Anything wrong ? " she inquired. 

" Nothing much," he replied. " A matter of 
ten minutes or so. I'm sorry for * Face-ache/ 
but it can't be helped. That's the worst 
of motor-cars. One moment you are bowling 
along at forty miles an hour, and the next 
you are waiting for somebody to give you 
a tow to the nearest garage. I remember once, 
before I came to Mr. Carstairs " 

u Why don't you hurry up ? " demanded 
Albert. 

" Sorry, sir," said Mr. Biggs, in tones of 
deep respect. " I'll be as quick as possible. 
Perhaps you'd like to get out and stretch 
your legs a bit ? I feel as if I could work 
faster if I didn't have your eagle eye on me all 
the time." 

Albert cast a malevolent eye upon the 
tittering Miss Mudge, but made no reply, and 
the chauffeur, whistling in the preoccupied 
fashion of a busy man, set to work. The girl 
got out and sat on the bank, rising after a time 
to loiter up and down the road. 

" Haven't you nearly finished ? " she said 
at last. " You've got to get me back at half- 
past four sharp, you know." 

"That'll be all right," said Mr. Biggs, 
looking at the do^ | 'f , There's time to draw 

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all Albert's teeth and rig him up with a set 
of new ones. I've just finished/' 

He closed up the bonnet and, putting his 
tools away, started the engine, and climbed 
to his seat, followed by Miss Mudge. 

" It's a shame/' she giggled, as they sped 
on. " How can you tease the poor child like 
that ? " 

" Can't be helped," said Mr. Biggs, in 
a loud voice. " Nobody can prevent accidents. 
But for that we should have kept our time." 

He was rewarded by an understanding 
glance from Miss Mudge, and, somewhat 
pleased with himself, drove the rest of the 
way in high spirits. 

" Look slippy, my lad," he said, amiably, 
as he pulled up at the dentist's. " Shut your 
eyes, open your mouth, and mind you don't 
swallow the nippers." 

" Five-and-twenty past three," said Miss 
Mudge, as the door opened and the boy 
disappeared. 

. " You'll be home at a quarter-past four," 
said Mr. Biggs. " Just take care of the car 
for a moment ; I want to get something." 

He went off up the road and disappeared 
into a confectioner's, returning after a short 
interval with a large box of chocolates . 
dangling from his forefinger by a piece of 
pink ribbon. He placed them on the girl's 
lap and, declining a share in favour of a 
cigarette, noted with warm approval the 
correctness of her table-manners. He felt 
that he could sit and talk to her for hours. 

" A quarter to four," she said, suddenly. 

" He won't be a minute now," said the 
other, confidently. 

Miss Mudge consumed three or four more 
chocolates, and then, closing the cardboard 
box, sat tapping it impatiently with the tips 
of her fingers. Her restlessness communi- 
cated itself to the chauffeur, and two or 
three times, with an air of hurrying things, he 
stood up and peered at the dentist's windows. 
They stared blankly at him in return. 

" I shall get into trouble," said the girl, 
uneasily. " You'd better drive me home as 
fast as you can, and then come back for him." 

Mr. Biggs shook his head. " He's a 
disagreeable little beast," he said, slowly, 
" and he'd jump at the chance to make 
mischief if he came out and found us gone. 
Very likely go by train to Pettle and 
walk six miles home from there to make 
trouble." 

The church-clock, in a marked, deliberate 
fashion, struck four. 

" I'll fetch him out," snarled Mr. Biggs. 



ru- 



by Google 



He dashed up the steps and pressed the 
bell. A maid-servant, after a decent interval, 
opened the door. 

" He's in the waiting-room," she said, in 
reply to the chauffeur's question. 

" In the waiting-room ! " exclaimed Mr. 
Biggs. " Why doesn't he come out ? " 

The maid stared at him. " He's waiting 
to be attended to," she said, firmly. 

" Wait " gasped Mr. Biggs. " Wait 

Where is the room ? I want to see him." 

He followed close on her heels and burst 
into a stiff, cheerless-looking room furnished 
with soiled copies of Punch and illustrated 
papers of the year before last. Albert, who 
was reading a paper, put it down and eyed 
him languidly. 

" What's all this about ? " demanded the 
chauffeur. " Why aren't you ready ? What 
have you been doing ? " 

" Missed my appointment," said Albert, 
with a faint sigh. " I told you it was for 
three o'clock. But I don't mind waiting ; 
this is a most interesting story." 

" You hurry up," said Mr. Biggs, 
truculently. " Else you'll be sorry for it, 
you miserable little toad ! " 

" You've no right to talk to him like that," 
said a middle-aged woman, who was the 
only other occupant of the room. " In my 
opinion the boy is a perfect little gentleman. 
He's already given up his turn to two people ; 
and I'm sure he's suffering." 

" Very good," said Mr. Biggs, after a 
merciful attack of speechlessness. " Very 
good ; I'll tell Mr. Carstairs of this." 

" Mr. Carstairs wouldn't mind ; it's the 
thing he would do himself," retorted Albert, 
in a saint-like voice. " He " 

" Ready for you now," said the maid, 
opening the door and beckoning. 

Albert arose and, with a somewhat 
disappointed glance at the clock, went 
out. 

" We shall just do it," said Mr. Biggs, 
returning to the car. " I don't suppose it'll 
take more than a minute now." 

He started the engine and resumed his 
seat. Ten minutes later he switched it off 
again, and sat in a state of suppressed fury 
listening to the complaints of his distressed - 
companion. 

" It's all your fault," she said, hotly. 
" If you hadn't been so clever teasing the 
boy, it wouldn't have happened." 

" You enjoyed it," urged Mr.- Biggs. " I 
saw you smiling." 

" You won't see me smile again in a 
hurry," said Miss Mudge, grimly. " But go 
■_■ 1 1 l) 1 1 1 ".1 1 t ro m 

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on, put the blame on me ! Anything more 
you would like to say ? " 

She pitched the box of chocolates on the 
floor of the car, and, opening the door, stepped 
out and paced restlessly up and down the 
foot-path. At exactly twenty minutes to 
five the dentist's front door opened, and 
Albert, with a somewhat improved appear- 
ance, paused on the top step for a few words 
with the maid. He sauntered down the 
steps just as Mr. Biggs started the engine. 

" Where have you been ? " demanded the 
chauffeur, glaring at him. " Don't you try 
and tell me that it has taken him all this 
time to draw a tooth." 

" No, it wouldn't be true," said Albert. 
" He found another tooth with a hole in it ; 
so I told him he might as well stop it. He's 
got a thing like a sewing-machine, and " 

He drew back appalled before the frenzy 
in Mr. Biggs's face. • 

"Are you going to start, or are we going 
to stay here all day ? " inquired Miss Mudge. 
" Get up, Albert." 

" It's your place," said the boy, quickly, 

" Fm going in behind," said the girl. 

" I'll come, too," said Albert. 

" Not with me, you won't," said the girl, 
getting in and closing the door. " Make 
haste and get in. There's a box of chocolates 
on the floor you can have." 

" No, he can't ! " grunted Mr. Biggs, as the 
car started. 

" They're my chocolates," said Miss Mudge, 
" and I can give them to who I like. Pick 
them up, Albert/' 

The boy, with hi* eye on the chauffeur, 
obeyed. 

" Now eat them." 

Albert shook his head, but, the command 
being repeated, drew a large chocolate, 
decorated with a crystallized violet, from the 
box, and delicately bit off the end. Slight 
sucking noises testified to his enjoyment, 
and after a minute or two of very justifiable 
nervousness he settled back in his seat and 
gave himself up to the full enjoyment of the 
position. 

" Thank you for a very pleasant afternoon," 
said Miss Mudge, with a toss of her head, as 
she descended at the gate. " And thanks so 
much for getting me into trouble." 

" It wasn't my fault," said the hapless 
Mr. Biggs. 

" Being done by a babe in arms like that ! " 

said Miss Mudge, with a glance at Albert. 

14 I'd be ashamed of myself. Thank goodness 

you're not coming to sea with us ! " 

11 1 don't know so much about that," said 
Vol lii-a 



Mr. Biggs. " Perhaps I can if I want to. 
Perhaps Lady Penrose won't take you — 
now." 
Miss Mudge slammed the gate. 

CHAPTER XII. 
Mr. Biggs put the matter of the yacht 
right next day. It appeared from his own 
showing that he could be of great use in the 
engine-room, while, on the other hand, as 
an honest man and an Englishman, he had 
a great objection to staying at home on full 
pay with nothing to do for it. Permission 
was accorded so readily that, relating the 
matter to Mr. Watson afterwards, he was 
half - disposed to regret that he had not 
asked to go as a passenger. 

" Cheek'll do anything almost," assented 
Mr. Watson. " What do you know about 
a ship's engines ? " 

" More than you know about a car's," 
retorted the other. " When a man's got a 
head for machinery — which you haven't — 
nothing comes amiss to him. I haven't 
seen the machinery I couldn't understand, 
yet." 

" That shows your sense," said Watson. 
" It's no good going out of your way to look 
for trouble, I mean. However, I hope 
you'll have a good time ; I'm going to. I 
wonder the guv'nor don't take the house- 
maids and the gardeners as well. They 
could lend you a hand in the engine-room." 

As a matter of fact, the rest of the staff, 
with one exception, manifested no desire to 
tempt their fortunes on the stormy deep. 
Board-wages and an easy existence for some 
months was the height of their ambition. 
The exception was Albert, and, until his 
desires were made known, a little confusion 
was caused by his unusual behaviour. 

" I'd sooner have a ghost in the place," 
declared Pope to Carstairs one day. "The 
little beast simply haunts me. What's the 
matter with him ? " 

Carstairs shook his head. " I seem to 
have seen more of him lately," he remarked. 
" I have nearly fallen over him twice." 

" Whenever I turn my head, there is that 
infernal boy somewhere near," said Pope. 
" And there's a curious pale smile about 
him I don't like. D'ye think it's mental ? " 

"No, no!" said Carstairs, hastily. "Of 
course it isn't. Don't give way to such 
fancies ; they're unhealthy. Your head is 
all right." 

" Mine ? " gasped his incensed friend. 
" Mine ? I am talking about the boy's. 
He's getting (Sqej^r strange, in his manner. 

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Only yesterday he stole up behind me and 
picked a bit of fluff off my coat. I didn't 
know he was there, and it gave me quite a 
turn." 

" That's odd/' said Carstairs, looking 
perplexed, 4I He picked two bits of fluff 
off me this morning. At two different 
times/' 



than that of the average page, received the 
summons with some trepidation, The slow 
arranging of Mr, Pope's pince-nez added to 
his discomfiture, and he stood trying to 
think out replies to any misdemeanours with 
which he might be charged. 

" Have you quite recovered from your 
visit to the dentist ? " inquired Carstairs. 




"'THEN WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY Tt ? ' INQUIRED POPE, TAKING OFF HIS FOLDEK5 AND 

SHAKING THEM AT HIM THREATENINGLY," 



" Let's have him up and question him," 
said Pope, crossing to the bell. " Tackle 
him gently/' 

Ll Bait your coat with a piece of fluff/ 1 
said Carstairs, with a grin; "that would 
give us an opening," 

Albert, whose conscience was no clearer 



by Google 



"Me, sir? Yessir," replied the boy, 

" You don't appear to be quite well/' said 
Carstairs, musingly. 

" Perfectly well, sir/' said the puzzled 
Albert. *' Thank you, sir," 

"Then what do you mean by it?" 
inquired Pope, taking off his folders and 
Original from 

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shaking them at him threateningly. " What do 
you keep getting in my way for and following 
me about ? And Mr. Carstairs ? " 

" Nothing, sir,'' said Albert. " I— I didn't 
know you had noticed it, sir." 

" That's an admission/' said Pope, turning 
a. red face to Carstairs. 

" I — I wanted to ask you something, sir," 
said the boy, turning to the latter. 

" Well ? " 

Albert twisted his hands together. " I 
wanted to ask — whether — I could go," he 
said, desperately. 

" Go ! " repeated his astonished employer. 
" Why, of course you can. Why didn't you 
ask before ? " 

The jtension of Albert's features relaxed, 
and was succeeded by a radiant smile. " I 
thought there mightn't be room, sir," he said, 
simply. 

Ckrstairs turned with a perplexed gaze 
to Pope. " Room ? " he repeated, slowly. 
" Room ? " 

" On the boat, sir," explained the boy, 
staring in his turn. 

A startled grunt from Mr. Pope and a 
sudden exclamation from Mr. Carstairs 
added to his mystification. Carstairs was 
the first to recover. 

" Of course," he said, smiling. " Very 
thoughtful of you ; but I have no doubt we 
shall be able to find room somewhere." 

" If we couldn't," said Pope, with great 
solemnity, " we'd; make it." 

Albert eyed him dubiously, and, retiring 
in good order, closed the door and danced 
downstairs in an ecstasy of delight. 

" That settles it ; we must now redouble 
our efforts to get a satisfactory craft," said 
Carstairs. " It would never do to break 
faith with Albert." 

" He would be much more disappointed 
than Lady Penrose," said Pope. " We had 
better go up to-morrow and see that yacht 
broker Talwyn mentioned. Tollhurst offered 
to come with us. He — he is going to help 
me buy guns and things." 

i: Guns ? " said his friend, staring. 

" Must have a shot-gun," replied Pope, 
reddening. " One thing is, it will be useful 
down here. And perhaps a rifle. Every 
man ought to know how to use one. Might 
be useful on board. You never know." 

Carstairs groaned. " You've been talking 
to Tollhurst," he said, accusingly. " All 
right. We'll mount a couple of brass cannon 
as well. What about a black flag ? " 

Pope turned a deaf ear. At the age of 
fifty he had resolved to become a sportsman ; 



a resolution partly due to the narratives of 
Captain Tollhurst, and partly to the rabbits 
which came out in their thousands in the 
park at sunset. Up to the present he had 
contented himself with taking sighting-shots 
at them with a* walking-stick, developing an 
accuracy of aim which he felt sure would 
prove of value later on. Birds — half a mile 
distant — had also been satisfactorily accounted 
for. 

They took the business of the yacht first 
next day ; a story of a rhinoceros and 
Captain Tollhurst helping to beguile the 
tedium of the journey. A story told so 
modestly that only the thoughtful listener 
could appreciate the high courage and 
resourcefulness displayed by the survivor. 

It was a matter of surprise to Carstairs, 
who had never given the matter much 
thought, that the choice of steam-yachts of 
the tonnage required was a somewhat limited 
one, but by what the broker described as an 
extraordinary slice of luck, the very craft 
they were looking for was at that moment 
undergoing repairs at Southampton. Photo- 
graphs and plans seemed eminently satis- 
factory, and they left after making an arrange- 
ment to view the Starlight, fourteen hundred 
tons, three days later. 

" It would have been more interesting," 
said Tollhurst, as they returned to the car, 
" to have hired a small sailing-yacht." 

" You mean more dangerous," said Pope, 
accfisingly. " So far *as I am concerned, I 
prefer size and security." 

The captain laughed and shook his head. 
" A little element of uncertainty, that is all," 
he replied. 

u Not for the ladies," said Pope, solemnly. 

" I had forgotten them," was the reply. 

" I expect we shall have all the uncertainty 
we want," said Carstairs, amiably ; " but if 
you find the voyage palls we can always 
land you and Pope at some place where you 
can risk your lives. And pick you up after- 
wards — if there is anything to pick up. 
Now, what about these guns ? " 

Tollhurst gave a direction to Biggs, and 
five minutes afterwards they pulled up at 
a gunsmith's and laid the foundations of a 
small but efficient armoury. A hammerless 
ejector gun, a sporting rifle, a rabbit rifle, 
artd an automatic pistol of the newest pattern 
went home with Pope in the car. 

" To-morrow," he said, toying with the 
little rifle, " I will get my hand in on a few 
rabbits." 

Tollhurst nodded. " I will come with 
you," he said ; " but I should advise the 

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gun to begin with, A rabbit is a small 
target , you know." 

4 You know best/' said Pope, somewhat 
ungraciously. u i thought there would be 
more sport with a bullet, that is all The 
shot-gun is too certain/' 

14 Sheer butchery/ 1 said Carstairs, with a 
glance at TollhiusL 



place to hit them as any/ 1 he added* with a 
return glance at Carstairs. 

It was a scarcely perceptible glance* but 
Pope saw it and lapsed into silence* which* 
except for an occasional grunt, he maintained 
until the end of the journey. Upon one 
thing he was determined : he would astonish 
them all next day. 




s^t* 



"AN EMPTY TOMATO-CAN PERCHED ON A POST DEFLECTED THE BULLETS AT TEN" YARDS 
RANGE IN A WAY THAT WAS ALMOST UNCANNY/' 



" They ought to have a chance," said 
Pope, judicially. " However, if Tollhurst 
doesn't think so* perhaps I had better take 
the gun/' 

" Take the rifle by all means, it you wish;' 
said Tollhurst. " The head is as good a 

Digitized by G< 



He arose at sis: next morning and went 
out for a little preliminary rifle-practice. 
Ten shots at the trunk of a beech tree at 
fifty yards furnished no data* the wood 
simply swallowing the bullets without reveal- 
ing the place of entry. An empty tomato- 
Original from 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



THE CASTAWAYS. 



85 



can perched on a post deflected them at ten 
yards' range in a way that was almost un- 
canny. If a tomato-can could behave in that 
fashion, what might be expected of a rabbit ? 
Perturbed in spirit, Mr. Pope returned to 
the house and, meeting Biggs on the way, 
gave him the rifle to clean. 

In the result he resolved to thin the 
rabbits out (his own expression) with the 
gun, and soon after six that evening, accom- 
panied by Tollhurst, he set off to a sandy 
bank on the confines of the park. Trees 
and gorse afforded good cover, and, stealing 
up with the caution of a Red Indian, he 
discharged both barrels at a little group 
forty yards -distant. The earth swallowed 
them up immediately, including the two he 
had hit. 

44 I'll swear I winged them," he said, 
after a search. 

Tollhurst nodded. " Gone to die in their 
holes," he said, briefly. " Often happens. 
We must try farther along now." 

They went on in silence, Pope with his 
lips pursed and his gun ready. Restless 
rabbits, unable to stay in one place for more 
than a second or two at a time, he ignored. 
He wanted something less mobile, and it 
presented itself at last in the shape of a huge 
elderly rabbit which was sitting under an 
cak tree taking the air. Trembling with 
excitement, Pope held his breath, and was 
just taking careful aim when the veteran 
arose and went for a gentle constitutional 
behind a clump of gorse. 

44 It's gone," whispered Pope. 

44 Plenty more," said his friend. " Be 
quicker next time." 

Mr. Pope attributed his failure to that 
advice. Left to himself, he felt sure that 
he could have shot rabbits. As it was, bits 
of gorse were blown to pieces and patches 
of turf rose into the air. At the end of an 
hour Tollhurst, looking in the direction of 
the house, muttered something about dinner. 

44 I'll come when I've got a rabbit," said 
Pope, grimly. " You go." 

Left to himself, he flitted noiselessly about 
and blazed away at intervals, until at length, 
tired and dispirited, he sat down and drew 
out his cigarette-case. A figure approaching 
in the dusk drew near, and revealed itself 
as Mr. Biggs. 



14 Any sport, sir ? " inquired the chauffeur, 
respectfully. 

Pope told him. He also referred in 
scathing terms to the acrobatic proclivities 
of his quarry. 

Mr. Biggs looked longingly at the gun. 
44 Long time since I shot any, sir," he said, 
with a sigh. 

44 Can you shoot ? " inquired Pope. 

44 I've shot thousands in my time, sir," 
said the chauffeur, 44 when I was a boy, at 
home." 

Pope took up his gun and held it out to 
him. 44 Kill a few thousands now," he said, 
vindictively. 

Mr. Biggs thanked him and withdrew 
noiselessly. An occasional report indicated 
that he was doing his best to carry out 
instructions. Pope, leaning back with a 
pleasant sense of fatigue, went on smoking. w 
It was not until he had finished his third 
cigarette that he saw the chauffeur returning. 

44 Any luck ? " he called out. 

Mr. Biggs shook his head. " I wont 
blame them," he said, frankly. 44 1 suppcse 
my eye is out, or my hand ; perhaps both." 

44 But " said Pope, and pointed to 

three rabbits the other was carrying. 

" Not mine, sir," said Biggs. 4< Wish they 
were. I picked them up as I went along." 

Pope stared at him. 4i They must be 
mine, then," he said, in a puzzled voice. 

44 Unless anybody else has been shooting," 
said Mr. Biggs, gazing afar off. 4I They're 
fresh killed. You must have been shooting 
better than you thought." 

Mr. Pope thought so too, and, extending 
his hand for the rabbits and the gun, set off 
in the direction of the house. Mr. Biggs 
accompanied him half-way, and then, with 
a respectful 44 Good night," turned off. 

Tired but happy, Pope reached the house, 
and, rejecting the offer of a footman to take 
his burden, made his way to the dining- 
room, and stood framed in the doorway. 
A slight exclamation from Tollhurst called 
attention to his presence. 

44 Well done/' said Carstairs. 

Pope smiled. 44 Not much of a bag," he 
said, modestly. 

44 Poor things ! " said Mrs. Ginnell, shaking 
her head at him. <4 Murderer ! " 

44 Not at all," murmured Pope. 



(To be continued.) 



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Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




THE NEW 
KEEPER'S DREAM. 

By J. A. SHEPHERD. 




V'ERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE NEW KEEPER'S DREAM. 



87 




TV OF MICHIGAN 



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Original from 
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THE NEW KEEPER'S DREAM. 



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poogk: 



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O ri g i n a I from 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



I 



HUSHED UP. 

By LLOYD . OSBOURNE. 
Illustrated by Warwick Reynolds. 




Y eyes were smarting and it 
was all I could do to control 
myself when I walked out 
of Mr. Rigney' s office — dis- 
charged. I had given eight 
years of my life to the 
Exchange Bank, and thought 
that such long and faithful service might 
have counted in my favour — but it didn't. 
I was second cashier, drew four pounds a 
week, with an extra bonus at Christmas, and 
spent every penny I earned. A young fellow 
who dresses well and goes out a great deal can 
hardly do much saving on that salary. To 
be quite honest, I had never tried,, realizing 
that a good appearance is everything in 
business and that promotion is apt to hit 
the man who has plenty of friends and social 
connections. 

My trouble was that I made myself too 
popular, and that in a quarter old Rigney 
could not forgive. He was one of those white- 
haired, high-coloured, high-tempered old boys, 
with a tremendously swollen sense of his own 
importance — a fine man to work for if you did 
not tread on his toes, and the bitterest kind 
of enemy if you did. And so, naturally, when 
I fell in love with his daughter Emily, and 
she with me, and the time at last came to 
break the news to papa — all the blessing I got 
for my half share was a bellow of insults and 
a month's notice as per contract. 

But Emily, who was twenty-one and of 
age, said she would marry me, father or no 
father, just as soon as I could support her, 
and this ought to have been a great comfort 
to me — though it wasn't. I was too young 
then — only twenty-seven — to realize that 
such gentle, tender women, whom one has 
associated with softness and ease and luxury, 
can abandon everything very gladly for the 
man they love, 

I could have bitten my tongue off after- 
wards for having told George Preece all about 
it — unbosomed myself as they say — and 
thus added to my humiliation. He was our 
chief cashier, and had about as much use for 
me as a motorist for broken glass ; but I 
was caught by his pretended sympathy, and 

Digitized by C^OOglC 



was so bursting besides -with misery that I 
had neither sense nor reason. And so he 
said it was a shame and all the rest of it, while 
he was inwardly gloating and enjoying it all 
to the hilt. He was withered, oldish man, 
with ti cackling laugh and a pointed grey 
beard that would waggle like a goat's after 
he had said anything especially disagreeable. 
Often you did not realize how disagreeable 
it was till you went home and pulled out the 
prickles. After this talk I felt as though I 
should never get another position, would lose 
Emily for certain, and that everybody would 
be laughing at me as a cheap fortune-hunter 
who had got just what he deserved. That was 
the kind of comforter George Preece was ; 
Job, in comparison, would have sounded 
merry and bright. 

If only I had had a little money saved up 
I should have chucked that last month in 
the bank and done without the four pounds 
a week. 

I changed to a cheap boarding-house, gave 
up cigars, economized all I could, and in my 
after hours did my utmost to find another 
position. But old Rigney was so abominably 
unjust that he would not give me a recom- 
mendation, and in these circumstances it was 
not to be wondered at that people everywhere 
turned me down. None of the financial 
houses wanted anything to do with an assis- 
tant bank-cashier who was leaving under a 
cloud — the inference was too obvious. Vet 
those miserable days had some very bright 
spots in them. I had good friends who made 
it easy for Emily and me to meet, and every 
time we did so she put fresh heart into me. 

Though she tried to hide it from me, Emily 
was having a hard time too, what with her 
father's constant bullying and her having to 
conceal the whole matter from her mother. 
To tell her would be sure to bring on an 
" attack," which to Mrs. Rigney was a shield 
against all the cares of existence. 

My time at the bank was nearing its end 
when, one morning, a very strange thin^ 
occurred. Happening to notice George Preece 
coming out of the manager's office, I was 
suddenly struck by the fact that he looked 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



9 2 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE, 



perturbed, oul that his hands were trembling 
so much that he could scarcely pick up a 
paper he had droppi-d. As though to avoid 
my glance he hurried away towards the rear 
of the bank, where we had a separate way into 
the adjoining safe-deposit — a place that was 
always dark and very little used, with two 
superannuated telephone-boxes in it that 
somehow had never been removed. Wonder- 
ing if he had been taken ill. I asked Heigh ton 
to keep iin eye on my counter and unit 
back myself to see what the matter was. 
Well, I found Preece sitting in one of the 
boxes ^ huddled up and shaking like a man 
in an ague. As I peered in he started 
violently, and spat out : lb I)nn*t you spy on 
me, sir! Don't you spy on me!" And 
this with such a gleam of yellow teeth and 
such a convulsive wagging of his beard that 
he reminded me of a badger being poked by 
a stick, 

" I only thought 
you might be ill/' I 
said, coldly, show- 
ing by my tone how 
insulted I was, 

M I was just look- 
ing at these boxes/' 
he returned, trying 
to pull himself 
together, and chang- 
ing his tone until it 
was almost cringing. 
"Why, I thought 
you were a ghost , 
jumping at me like 
that, and the words 
came out before I 
knew what I was 
saying," Then in an 
emboldened sort of 
way he went on : 
" I must tell Mr. 
Rigney to get rid of 
these boxes ; there 
is no sense in litter- 
ing up the place with 
things that are no 
longer used." 

i( None whatever," 
I agreed, turning 
away, but conscious 
for the first time of 
a strong reek of 
whisky. One did not 
have to be very 
clever to connect it 
with Preece's 
disappearance in the 



box j yet to anyone who knew the man 

and his abstemious, miserly ways, it seemed 
an almost incredible thing for him to do, 
nipping whisky there in the dark at eleven 
in the morning, 

I tell you I did a lot of thinking when I went 
back to my desk and begat) to connect the 
trembles and the whisky with something that 
must have happened in old Rigney' s office. 
And I had more to chew on still when Reuben 
Pottwynd arrived in a taxi-cab and walked 
straight into the manager's office. He was our 
most important director, and I noticed that 




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f*- 



"don't you SB®rP3Hnd,ffiSrt'" 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



HUSHED UP. 



93 



be did not send in his name, but pushed the 
door right open as though he had been 
telephoned for and was expected. After that 
it was not much of a surprise to see old 
Glass, another of our directors, arriving ditto, 
looking mighty flurried and upset, and 
close on his heels August Lest, of the 
Bank of Commerce, and also one of our 
directors, striding past me towards the 
office. 

The next thing that happened — and you 
may be sure I did not miss any of it — was 
old Rigney's confidential clerk emerging 
quietly to ask Mr. Preece to " kindly step into 
the office." But by now Preece seemed to 
have got his assurance back, and never turned 
a hair as he followed him, even stopping to 
give some brief instructions to Phillips in 
the exchange department, and speaking in 
his ordinary dry, composed voice. 

The meeting, or whatever it was, lasted 
a very long time. Once old Rigney came out 
with August Lest, and the two entered the 
steel vault and spent quite a while there, and 
then returned, looking very grave. By now 
the whole bank was in a sort of electric 
tension, though, of course, we were all too 
well trained to show any sign of it to the 
public, or even to one another, except for 
an uplifted eyebrow perhaps, or a little dig 
as you passed somebody. 

But finally, when they all came out together 
— all except Mr. Rigney — old George appeared 
the most unconcerned of the lot, and surprised 
tys by gtfag back to his work as cool as a 
cucumbef. It was the three directors who 
looked upset, and they strode along close 
together jand silent, as though they were 
holding themselves in till they could get past 
us and out of earshot. 

That night I went for a spin in the park 
with some friends, who brought me home and 
dropped me on my doorstep at ten or so. 
As the boy let me in, he said there was 
a gentleman up in my room waiting to see 
me. I went up the stairs two at a time, 
not unprepared to find that my room had 
been ransacked by some plausible thief, and 
was even ready to grapple with the intruder, 
when imagine my surprise as I banged open 
the door to see — yes, of all people in the world 
—old Rigney sitting on my bed ! I guess it 
was the only place he could find to sit on, the 
room being so small and littered ; but the sight 
of him there fairly took my breath away. 

" Halloa, Rawlinson ! " he said, rising and 
offering me his hand in a stiff, yet unbending, 
sort of way- " I have been waiting here two 
hours to see you." 
t 



" Two hours ! " I exclaimed, not knowing 
what to think, and tumbling off a lot of things 
to give him a chair. 

He settled himself in it, and then slowly 
drew out a cigar and lit it, offering me his 
case at the same time. 

" I am in a beast of a hole,*' he said, gazing 
at me with those formidable old eyes of his and 
blowing out a mouthful of smoke. " I want 
help, and I am willing to pay heavily for it." 

" Yes, sir," I said, hanging on his words. 

" Suppose I should give you my daughter 
and two thousand pounds ? " he continued. 
k4 That would count with you, eh ? " 

I gasped out that indeed it would — that 
I would go through fire and water to win 
Emily. I was altogether confused and 
incoherent, and these trite expressions, so 
inadequate to the occasion, must have sounded 
utterly idiotic. Then, as the pause lengthened, 
I added, with a certain misgiving, " Of course, 
you would not expect me to do anything that 
wasn't — wasn't right ? " 

But instead of answering he blew out more 
smoke and stared at me ambiguously. When 
at last he did speak, I noticed it was not to 
reply to my question. 

" You are a fine, vigorous young man," he 
said. "You have the reputation of being 
quite an athlete. I guess you could take an 
ordinary-sized man of fifty-four and kill him 
as easily as I could stamp on a blackbeetle." 

41 I wish you would tell me what you want," 
I said. 

He pondered for a moment, and then walked 
nervously about the room. 

" When I think of the way I have been 
done, I can hardly stand it," he burst out, 
explosively. " I can't formulate anything, 
can't see any daylight anywhere. And the 
lawyers — pah ! nothing but a lot of babbling 
old women, who can't suggest a thing, can't 
do a thing. r l hat's why I have come to you, 
Rawlinson. It's a situation that calls for 
a young man, for somebody that can take 
risks and hit hard, who hasn't been so long 
stewed in cowardice and compromise that he 
has lost all his nerve. I am too old to grapple 
with this mvself — that's the trouble. I am 
too old." 

" Til help you if I can," I said, as he seemed 
to come to the end of his breath. " You haven't 
told me yet what it is you want." 

" You know George Preece," he exclaimed, 
savagely, with a sputter of hatred at the 
name. " George Preece, the most trusted 
employi at the bank ; been with us twenty- 
five years ; a fellow I would put my hand in 
the fire for as to honesty Etnd all that. Well, 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



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THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



hanged if he didn't come into my office this 
morning, and say — yes, his very own words — 
4 I am going to retire, and I want twenty 
thousand pounds to retire on ! ' When I 
blew up at that, what do you suppose he said 
next — George Preece, mind you, a man who 
has been with us from the very start, and 
whom I trusted like a twin brother ! 4 I have 
taken two millions of bills and bonds and 
specie out of the safe/ he says, cooler than 
I am talking to you this verv minute, 4 and I 
have buried it in some place where you couldn't 
find it in a thousand years. If you want to 
send me to prison you can/ he says, ' but if 
you want to get your two millions back you 
will have to retire me with a vote of thanks 
and twenty thousand pounds, as I said. It s 
for you to choose/ he says. 4 Take it or 
leave it/ he says." 

I think Mr. Rigney found a bitter kind of 
zest in my astonishment ; in my whole- 
hearted anger and indignation. I could feel 
the change in his manner towards me — an 
increased warmth, an increased consideration. 
It was not a little flattering that this strong, 
proud, self-sufficient man should have sought 
me out in his trouble. I was very much 
touched indeed. 

44 But all he can actually rob you of is the 
cash/' I said, after reflecting a moment. 
44 Bills, mortgages, bonds, and such things 
can all be duplicated, and their titles proved 
by our files." 

44 While the bank goes on the rocks in 
the meanwhile/' he protested. " Proving 
destroyed titles is the most vexatious job 
in the world, and takes more time and 
trouble than you have the faintest idea of. 
We might just as well hand the bank over 
to a receiver and be done with it. That is 
where he has us when he says he is willing 
to go to jail. No; Rawlinson, I have looked 
at this from every angle, and there is only 
one way to stave off a crash, and that's to 
catch the fellow alone somewhere and choke 
him until he shows us where the stuff is — 
and it is up to you to do it ! " 

44 Me ? " I cried. 

Rigney nodded grimly. " Yes, you," he 
said. 

Then, drawing out his pocket-book, he 
produced a cheque and passed it over to me. 

44 For expenses," he explained. 44 One 
thousand pounds for expenses, and if you need 
more you shall have it without limit. All I 
can say is that, if you want to be my son-in- 
law, go ahead and save us." 

4< One question," I said, taking the cheque 
and beginning to feel my heart beat thickly. 



" Do I understand there is to be absolutely 
no compromise with the fellow ? No beating 
down his price ? " 

44 No ! " he exclaimed, snapping out the 
word. " Put detectives on him, learn his 
habits, and then jump on him some dark 
night, and " 

He left the sentence unfinished, and stared 
at me significantly through a cloud of smoke. 

44 The only way to argue with such rascals 
is through their hide," he added. 

Then he rose, took his silk hat and cane 
from the bed, and held out his hand. 

44 It is a big order,"- he said. " But if 
anybody can put it through I know you will. 
Good night." 

I ushered him down the stairway and went 
out with him to his motor-car. We shook 
hands again in the dark, and his last words 
were to say that I had taken a load off his 
shoulders. I returned indoors, feeling I had 
put a ton on mine. Then I roused the boy, 
asked him to make me a pot of strong coffee, 
and sat down to think, think, think. 

That miserable, wasted night taught me 
only one thing — my limitations as an amateur 
criminal. It was so easy for Mr. Rigney to 
say 4 * catch him somewhere and take it out 
of his hide," yet to do either seemed hope- 
lessly beyond my powers. I rose in the 
morning quite despairing, and went to keep 
an appointment I had with Emily at the 
Minturns\ 

She had never looked to me so pretty as 
she did that morning, with something about 
her so fresh and exquisite, so flowerlike and 
adorable, that I felt, as always, a sense of my 
own unworthiness, and a sort of wonder that 
she could care for me at all. She saw at once 
that I was in the depths of gloom, and had 
hardly kissed me before she took me to task 
— holding to the lapels of my coat and looking 
up at me in tender reproach. 

44 He's been worrying," she said. " Worry- 
ing dreadfully." 

44 He has/ I admitted. 

u And he wants to make it just as hard for 
us as he can," she said, with a little catch in 
her voice. 44 As though our being young is 
nothing, and loving each other is nothing, 
and the only sensible thing would be to jump 
off the wharf because nobody will give the 
poor dear twenty pounds a month." 

44 Last night somebody gave me a thou- 
sand," I said, drawing out her father's cheque, 
and enjoying her astonishment at the sight of 
it. 44 It's that I want to talk about." 

W r e sat down side by side on the sofa, and 
I described the interview with her father. 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



HUSHED UP. 



95 



When I finished she got up and walked about 
the room greatly excited. 

" Your father is asking the impossible, 5 * I 
said, " I have looked at it from every angle, 
and the whole idea is impossible," 

She came back to me flushed and quivering. 

4( Surely you are going to make a try for 
it ? Oswald ? JJ she said. " Surely you don't 
mean to leave dad in the lurch ? Can t vou 



hours. Of course Preece would tell. How 
could he help telling ? 

The affair immediately took on a new 
aspect — passed from dreamland into reality. 
In the ensuing exhilaration there was hardly 
time to congratulate ourselves. The solution 
of our worst problem made the easier one 
loom up like a mountain — how to decoy 
Preece to a lonely place and nab him. But 




THEN SHE BE XT DOWN AND MURMURED SOMETHING IS MY EAR, 



realize what this means for us if only you 
could succeed ? " 

u I spent all last night thinking of that," 
I returned, dismally. u It's true I might 
manage to waylay old Preece — there are a 
dozen ways of contriving that ; but what 
the dickens would I do with him afterwards ? 
I can't burn him at the stake* can I 3 or hang 
him up on a meat-hook ? '* 

Emily gazed at me as though she were 
hardly listening ; ft was plain her quick wits 
were at work and her attention was all 
within, Then she bent down and murmured 
something in my ear. 

" Do that to him, and hell tell all right," 
she added, M Just you try it, Oswald/' 

1 ought to have jumped up and hugged 
her ? but I could do nothing but sit there 
dumbfounded. In one minute Emily had 
accomplished more than I had in ten sleepless 



Emily had no second flash of inspiration. 
After much unavailing talk I determined to 
go and consult Sam lirandcr, Sam was not 
only one of the most fearless men alive, but 
had that dash of irresponsibility which is so 
necessary in all desperate adventures. Yes ? 
I would go and consult Sam, and off I set in 
high .spirits, after a parting with Emily that 
made me feel all over again how intolerable 
it would be to fail. 

Sam was a newspaper photographer who 
passed his cheerful existence amid fires and 
murders and death-chambers and fashionable 
weddings. In appearance he was short and 
thick-set, with an engaging smile that atoned 
fur many social deficiencies. 

If I am to be honest, I had better admit 
right off that the subsequent history was 
largely Sam's, I had not talked with him ten 
minutes before 1 1) iptitthim on the pay-roll at 

IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



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THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



two pounds a day and expenses — not that he 
wanted to take a penny — but just to make him 
feel the seriousness of the undertaking, and 
to anchor him to it. The first thing he did 
as my paid assistant was to sharpen a pencil 
and write " Notes "ona large sheet of fools- 
cap ; the second was to say that of course 
we had to take in the police. By this he did 
not mean the chief of police, whom he thought 
very little of, but a certain Inspector McBride, 
who was " the power behind the throne at 
headquarters/ ' 

It would be waste of time to repeat the 
endless conversation we had on the subject ; 
to describe the plans that were so elaborately 
reared, only to topple like a house of cards at 
some belated — and fatal — criticism. Natu- 
rally, we did not wish to call in McBride until 
we had worked out a comprehensive plan of 
operations. " We have to give him something 
to chew on/' said Sam ; and this effort to 
obtain chewing material for the inspector 
was the most head-racking ordeal I ever went 
through with. Sam, in spite of his enormous 
wealth of criminal experience, was less 
resourceful than might have been expected ; 
and in the end it was I who unravelled our 
difficulties and evolved a stratagem that 
might be hoped to place old Preece helpless 
in our hands. 

That same night we had our talk with 
Inspector McBride, who came to us in plain 
clothes, and who had already been given an 
inkling of our affair. He was a big, reddish 
person with a wonderful capacity to sit 
stolidly on a chair and say nothing, but he 
had a keen face, in spite of its heaviness, and 
steely blue eyes that pierced one like gimlets. 
He listened to us with an increasing gravity 
that seemed to bode ill for our enterprise, 
till at the end he suddenly brought down his 
hand on his knee with a resounding wallop, 
and cried " Good ! " in a big, hearty voice. 
Then, when everything had been entered in 
his little book and he had risen to take 
his departure, he remarked, with a worried 
expression : — 

" It's you two who will have the hardest 
job — making Preece squeal." 

u Oh, he'll squeal all right before we are 
through with him, ,, said Sam, confidently. 
" Rawlinson here has a plan that would make 
a wooden Indian yelp." 

The following night, in accordance with our 
prearranged programme, Sam and I reached 
the bank at one, and were silently admitted 
by Mack, the Irish night watchman, who had 
been taken into the secret. The bank was a 

ligilized by LiOOgle 



ghostly-looking place at that hour, and the 
elfect of our entry in its great cavernous 
interior was eerie in the extreme. We spoke 
in whispers and moved about on our noiseless, 
rubber-soled shoes like a pair of burglars, 
with a strange, unreasonable, and rather 
daunting apprehension. Outside we knew 
that Mack was patrolling up and down the 
pavement, and that in various recesses farther 
distant there were enough hidden policemen 
to prevent anyone interfering with us. 

At twenty past one, and faithful to the 
minute, Mr. Rigney arrived and was as 
stealthily admitted as we had been. We had 
hardly more than greeted him when next 
came August Lest, then James Glass, then 
Reuben Pottwynd, each at a minute or two 
apart, so as to attract as little attention as 
possible from any chance passer-by. Lest 
had brought them all in his car, which he had 
driven himself and had left in a side street. 

My first command was to get the safe 
open. Next I had several of the electric 
lights turned on and shielded with handker- 
chiefs, so that it was possible to move about 
without recourse to our blinding little torches. 
Then I stationed Rigney and Lest near the 
safe, with instructions to close the armoured 
door to within an inch of shutting as soon as 
Sam and I had dragged Preece inside. 

None of the four directors knew what we 
meant to do with Preece. I don't believe 
old Rigney cared a fig what we did, nor 
August Lest either, so long as we got the two 
millions back. They were hot under the 
collar at the way they had been victimized, 
and small wonder ; but Pottwynd and Glass 
suddenly took fright as they saw these cold- 
blooded preparations, and the latter, a 
podgy little fat man with gold spectacles, 
began to gasp out that he wouldn't be a party 
to a murder— no, by George, he wouldn't. 

For a time it looked as though the whole 
thing was destined to go up in .smoke, and 
there ensued a tumultuous argument in 
which old Rigney took an emphatic and over- 
bearing part. With his white hair awry, 
and his face crimson with scorn and anger, he 
let fly at these two weak-kneed confederates 
with all the vigour at his command and . 
gradually reduced them to submission. I 
wondered why Mr. Rigney had bothered to 
have them at all ; but from something that 
August Lest dropped I believe the latter had 
insisted on all the directors shouldering the 
responsibility together. Were we to fail 
and become involved in a horrible scrape, 
we should certainly be better off with Pottwynd 
and Glass sharmg the respDnsibility. But, as 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



HUSHED UP. 



97 



active assistants in a dangerous enterprise, 
they were two good-sized millstones around 
our necks. 

This is a good time to explain what Inspector 
McBride was doing in the meanwhile. Preece 
lived in a boarding-house in Baker Street — 
and he was to be closely shadowed and his 
return home assured. Then at a quarter to 
two McBride was to rush up there in a 
police motor and, announcing that the bank 
safe had been dynamited by burglars, insist 
that Preece should return with him to ascer- 
tain the extent of the loss. In such 
circumstances Preece could hardly dare to 
refuse to go ; he was still ostensibly chief 
cashier and would simply have to go. Preece, 
of course, was to be told that all the directors 
were likewise being reached by the police, 
thus giving the impression of a general 
hubbub at the bank. The cleverness of the 
scheme was that, if true, it would have suited 
Preece down to the ground — to have all the 
blame foi the loss put on the burglars, who 
would thus screen his own robbery in the 
most unexpected manner. 

You may imagine that it was a pretty 
breathless business waiting for all this to 
happen. Sam and I placed ourselves near the 
entrance, watches in hand and our hearts 
beating like sledge-hammers. 

I tried to comfort myself with the thought 
of marrying Emily, tried to realize the 
happiness that was in store for me, and 
how soon we might be spending our 
money in furnishing our little nest. But 
Preece's face kept rising between me and 
these fleeting visions — Preece's obstinate, 
withered, gnarled old face — and with it I 
seemed to gaze beyond on vague outlines of 
men in broad arrows. 

At last we heard the reverberation of a car 
tearing down the street. Mack poked his 
head in at the door, nearly causing us to jump 
out of our skins as he announced hoarsely, 
" It's them, sorr, it's them ! " Sam and I 
braced ourselves. The car roared ever nearer ; 
it stopped, and we heard voices and the 
heavy tread of feet descending. Then the 
heavy feet tramped towards the door, and 
•it was flung open by an authoritative hand, 
revealing McBride on the threshold, backed 
by three policemen. In their midst was 
Preece, as pale as death and looking extra- 
ordinarily shrunken in comparison with these 
giants. McBride put a hand on his back, 
and shoved him in with a terrific thrust 
that sent him sprawling on his knees. 

" Here's the goods," he said, in his big voice. 
u I am through with him. Good night/' 



Vol. fii.~7. 



i 



With that he turned about face with his 
giants, and a moment later we heard the 
whir of the disappearing car. 

It was singular that our first action was 
to help Preece to his feet. In his fall he had 
hurt his knee, and now as he stood up he 
kept rubbing it and alternately looking at us 
in a baffled sort of way. His mouth was open 
and he was breathing hard. He gave me the 
impression of being badly frightened, but 
defiant. 

" So this was all a trick to get me down 
here ? " he panted out, vindictively. " A plot 
between you and those low police, who will 
smart for it before I am through with them. 
Well, it won't do you much good, I can 
tell you that." Then he moved towards the 
door. " Let me pass," he commanded, in 
a voice he tried to make loud and intimidating. 
" If you dare to lay hands on me, I warn you 
there will be trouble." 

I don't know what trouble he meant. He 
didn't know himself, of course ; but it was 
just a forlorn bluff to make his way past us. 
But he did not get far. In an instant we had 
him in our grasp, squeaking and strugglirg 
and kicking with all his might, which, for- 
tunately for us, did not amount to much. 
He was a dried-up wisp of a man, and as 
easy to handle as a child. Between us we 
rushed him to the rear, fearing his increasing 
outcries a good deal more than any harm he 
could do to us, and popped him pell-mell into 
the safe like a sack of coal. In another moment 
the ponderous door swung behind us and 
stopped within an inch of shutting. Then 
we bound his hands and feet, laid our torches 
where they could light us, and told him 
to stop his noise. 

" Bellowing won't help you now, Preece," 
I said. " Why not shut up and listen to a little 
sense ? " 

To my surprise he stopped yelling, and with 
a gulp or two answered, quaveringly : — 

" I warn you I have a bad heart. If you 
torture me you will kill me. I have valvular 
disease of the heart." 

" You have also two millions of other 
people's securities," I said. " As we cannot 
get them back any other way, we are 
going to get them out of your skin. We've 
got you here where we want you, and the 
sooner you realize it the better." 

" It's I who have got you," he cried out, 
with sobbing fury. " I wouldn't tell you where 
they were if you ran me full of needles. 
Go ahead and kill me if you like ; you won't 
extort a word out of me." 

He looked terribly as though he meant it. 

IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



9 8 



THE STRAXD MAGAZINE. 




Ml BELLOWING WON*! KELP YOU NOW, PRLKCE,* I SAID. * WHY NOT SMUT I'P AND tISTEN 

TO A LITTLE SENSE ? *" 



He was not strong in body, but you could feel 
the indexible will of the man and his horrible , 
unflinching obstinacy. He snapped out his 
defiance like a Christian martyr at the stake, 
and I recalled with a sinking heart how success- 
fully those bygone saints had resisted every 
extremity of pun. lj /" 



by 



IC 



" VVe offer you just one thing," I said. u If 
you will restore the securities we will agree 
to take no action against you/' 

Perhaps he thought I was weakening, or 
at any rate his answer was a snarling refusal- 

l " Twenty thousand pounds and not 
a pennjOtag^'^rfraanirned, squirming in his 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



HUSHED UP. 



99 



bonds, and looking up at us more defiantly 
than ever. " You wilL find that a better 
bargain than killing a man with heart disease, 
and I advise you to take it befofe you have 
a corpse on your hands." 

" Oh, let's get busy/' put in Sam, who had 
been growing impatient. " The fellow doesn't 
know what he is up against." 

" Well, he soon will," I exclaimed, angrily. 
" Here, give me a hand." 

I don't intend to describe what went on in 
the safe ; our task wasn't a pleasant one, and 
in the telling it might sound awful. Preece, 
bound hand and foot, was at our mercy, and 
it became a Red Indian contest between his 
powers of endurance and ours to make him 
suffer. Yet I don't see how any fair-minded 
person has any right to blame us. 

This was a case where the law was with the 
criminal, and the only way to bring him to 
justice was to go outside it. He came to time 
within eight minutes, though so craftily that, 
had it not been for Sam, I should have been 
completely outwitted. First he said he had 
put the stuff in a safe deposit under an assumed 
name. Sam wanted to know what name, what 
safe deposit, at what rent— shot question after 
question at him that instantly showed what 
a lie it all was. Preece was a wretched hand 
at inventing things. He stuttered and back- 
pedalled and mixed himself all up. Then he said 
he had given the securities to a friend to keep. 
Bang, bang, bang, went Sam at him again. 
What was the name of the friend, where did 
he live, what was his business, what was his 
telephone number ? etc., etc. Preece had to 
admit that this was a lie too, and then declared 
that he had buried the stuff in Ocean 
Street, at the base of the fifth electric light pole 
beyond the end of the tram-line. 

This story really held together; it was 
coherent, and stood the hammering Sam 
gave it ; more than that, it was reasonable. 
Ocean Street was a lonely, remote road, 
where hopeful speculators were trying, with 
very little success, to interest the instal- 
ment-buying public. The tram stopped 
running at midnight, which bore out Preece's 
tale of going out late, waiting till the last car 
had started homeward, and then having the 
whole place to himself. He told us he had 
made four separate trips, as the gold had 
been too heavy to carry all at once. 

Untying his legs, but leaving his arms still 
bound, we led him out of the safe to find the 
directors all awaiting us in a fever of anticipa- 
tion. Imagine their hum of jubilation when 
I announced that Preece had confessed and 
that the stuff was buried out in Ocean Street ! 




Once that was said it did not take us an 
instant to get out of the bank and hurry away 
to August Lest's motor-car. Here we found 
Inspector McBride, who was tremendously 
relieved to hear the news, and who crowded 
in with us to " see the thing through," as he 
expressed it, and guard us from any possible 
police interference. 

At that hour Ocean Street was the lone- 
liest place on the map. When our search- 
lights showed that we had reached the end 
of the electric line we slowed down and 
ticked off the arc lamps, counting till we 
reached the fifth, where we all got out. Lest 
had brought tools, which Sam and I eagerly 
seized and set to work. 

But we might be digging there yet for all 
we got. After shovelling out tons of loose 
earth, and making a big enough hole to bury 
an elephant in, it began to steal over us that 
Preece was fooling us again. Sam suddenly 
threw down his spade and, taking an electric 
torch from one of the onlookers, flashed it in 
Preece's face. 

" It isn't there, and you know it isn't," he 
exclaimed, threateningly. 

Preece, recoiling, mumbled something about 
our not going deep enough. We should find 
it all there in four suit-cases if only we dug 
deep enough. With every word he grew 
more impudent, more emboldened, conscious, 
evidently, of the impression he was making 
on the others, who gazed at Sam and me 
reproachfully as though we were shirkers. 
But we knew the fellow was mocking us. 
He could not keep a sort of subdued triumph 
out of his voice. 

" What he needs is another jolt," said 
Sam, turning to me in great wrath. " Let's 
give him another right here." 

" That's the only thing to do," I agreed, 
vindictively. 

" Make room, please," said Sam to the 
others, who had crowded round us. " Our 
bird is going to sing this time, or I am a 
Dutchman." 

" You haven't gone deep enough," expostu- 
lated Preece, trembling in our grasp. Then 
all at once, realizing that we were in earnest, 
what did he do but slip down on his knees 
and bleat for mercy ! 

" 1 couldn't stand any more of it," he burst 
out in a paroxysm of terror. " You'll kill me 
if you do it again — you'll kill me, you'll kill 
me. Yes, I was lying ; I admit I was lying. 
It's under the seventeenth post, and that's 
gospel truth, I swear it." Then, utterly 
giving way, he began to cry and scream like 
a madman, g;o veiling before us in the r^ad 

IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN r-V 



loo 



THE STRAXD MAGAZINE. 




u YES, I WAS LYING; I ADMIT T WAS LYING. IT h S UNDER THE SEVENTEENTH POST, AND 
t THAT'S G< SHJlL TRL'Tii^ I SWEAR J 

IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



HUSHED UP. 



101 



and wailing out again and again that it was 
under the seventeenth post. 

We took him at his word, though it was all 
I could do to persuade Sam to let him off. 
Sam was burning to pay him back for all 
this lying and cheating, and could scarcely 
keep his hands off him. But Preece by now 
was at the end of his tether — was all in, as 
they call it — and we had not taken a dozen 
strokes of the pick at the new place before 
we struck a suit-case, and pulled it out heavy 
with gold. One by one, in quick succession, 
we disinterred the three others, opening them 
there under the glare of the searchlights just 
to satisfy ourselves we had not been deceived, 
and had acquired something more than a lot 
of old bricks. Mr. Rigney, crouching in the 
roadway, pawed over the mass of papers in 
an effort to determine if they were all there, 
the others aiding him in a buzz of satisfaction 
as they picked out Breen, Jackson, and Co.'s 
note for seventy thousand pounds ; J. Colless 
for forty thousand, and such-like tremendous 
plums, the loss of which would have been 
almost irreparable. 

Then we all got into the car again and 
speeded back to Rigney' s house in Chestnnt 
Street. It was a strange intrusion at that 
hour— all these determined-looking, wide- 
awake, unshaven men, tramping into such a 
silent place, and throwing their overcoats on 
gilt chairs, and tumbling out the dirty suit- 
cases on priceless rugs. 

Dawn was breaking before we were finished. 
Then, when the last bond had been tallied and 
the last coupon verified, Mr. Rigney, who had 
naturally taken the leading part in all this, 
turned to Preece and simply said : " You 
can get out/' which Preece promptly pro- 
ceeded to do, without a look or a word, slinking 
aWay like the whipped cur he was. It was I 
who opened the door to let him pass, and 
I was rewarded for this little act of con- 
sideration by a glimpse of Emily in the 
hall, fluttering into the shadow like a silken 
ghost. She smiled at me questioningly, and 
I would have run to meet her had I not been 
loudly called back. 

Old Rigney was starting a speech, which 
was all about me and how I had saved the 



bank. I cannot bring myself to repeat the 
wholehearted, splendid things he said of me, 
amid the uproarious approval of the others, 
nor describe the handshaking, congratula- 
tions, and jubilation that followed. Then, 
before anybody could cool, and while I wa* 
still the hero of the moment, he convened a 
formal directors* meeting, with himself in 
the chair, and voted me the two thousand 
pounds I had been promised, as well as five 
hundred more to Sam, and a similar sum to 
Inspector McBride. Anyone peeping in might 
have thought it all a burlesque, and that it was 
merely the hilarious end of an all-night spree 
— with a number of elderly gentlemen the 
worse for champagne — instead of it being 
an important meeting of a great financial 
institution. 

In the lull that ensued, and as the rattling 
milk-carts reminded us it was time to be 
going home, little James Glass suddenly 
popped up and asked us, with awe-stricken 
curiosity, what it was we had done to 
Preece. 

At this there was a hush. I guess there 
was not a director there who was not on fire, 
too, to know. At Glass's request every face 
lit up with expectancy. 

" You tell them/' I said to Sam, more to 
keep them on tenterhooks than anything else, 
and delay the answer. 

"No; you," protested Sam, playing into 
my hands, and smiling at the almost painful 
intensity of their interest. " It was your idea, 
and it is only fair you should get the whole 
credit for it." 

" If you must know, gentlemen," I said, 
slowly and solemnly advancing to the door, 
opening it, and beckoning Emily to enter, 
44 if you must know, gentlemen, the idea was 
not mine at all, but this young lady's." 

As they looked at Emily, and as Emily 
looked at them in mutual astonishment, 
little Glass exclaimed, impatiently, " Never 
mind whose idea it was, but for the love of 
Heaven tell us what you did to Preece ! " 

" Well," I said, holding the suspense till 
it was well-nigh intolerable, " we just took 
off his shoes and socks and tickled his feet with 
a feather I " 



by Google 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



Something Like People ! 







1 1 a i i run 



UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



SOMETHING LIKE PEOPLE ! 



I0 3 




ACROSTICS. 



Fri&es to the value of ten guineas are offered for solu- 
tiorw daring the quarter. 

DOUBLE ACROSTIC Xo. 9. 
For conscience 5 ?ake this noble J kith! 
Left tru&tfully their native land. 
And well these patriarchs, we sav, 
As colonizers loci the way + 

J, A food that scarcely satisfies 
Will decorator advertise. 

2. Monarch in this you have to trace 
Of a mysterious vanished race. 

3. *TwouM be t in peace, at any rate. 
Breach of commandment number eight. 

4. A sentimental overflow. 

To calmness and restraint a foe* 

."*. The person whom in thi^ ynn mhj 
Must dreamy and abstracted be + 

<L He + s curious, often is a burr, 
And terror was in Spain of yore. 

7, A social meal the word will name. 
But don't get in it, all the same, 

W. B. P, 



DOUBLE ACROSTIC Xo. 10. 
The Heads will take you well on road ; 
The Tails— a gift on kings bestowed ; 
The Heads and Tails at their full length, 
Will clearly mark a gauge of strength. 

1. It* lonely corner would surpass 

A mansion gnmd with brawling lass, 

2* Score after score, page after page, 
In music this was once the rage. 



»gle 



:i. 



I. 



To start again one blissful morn 
One's youth with hopes and joys reborn, 
A skihful^dn nat turn up snout 
ff origin should cause you doubt. 
5. A despot who from his safe chair 
And basket scatters wide despair. 

LEX, 
An Antra to Aerate* u and 10 should be adtlrfMtd to the 
Acrostic. Editor, The Strand Magazine, Suuthtitnptan. 
Strut, Strand, London, W*C. t and viutf arri're not later 
than tit/ the fir#t pout on July 6/A. Twq answers may os 
tint fo cvmj light. 



Answer to 




Answer to 


Double Acrostic Xo 


7, 


Dor rlis Acrostic Xo. S. 


1, X onparei 


1. 


J, S 


o B 


2. I c e n 


r 


2L T 


yr £ 


3, Q ri 


<; 


3, R 


ive It 


4, H i t c 


H 


4. A 


fa K 


6. T or 


T 


5, W 


e V 






XOTES. — 


A%ht 4. *par, 






tar, scar, 


star. 5. Li tile 






Miss Mnffet 


whey. 



RESULT OF THE FIRST SERIES, 
The maximum number of points obtainable during the 
quarter was 38; this number was gained by Beggar, 
Corisande, and Junius, each of whom wins a prize of 
£2 12s. fid, H. H, and Osbo scored 37 point*, and they 
both win prizes of £l fls, 3d. The real names and addresses 
of the winners are given below, aud these five solvers will 
he ineligible for any further pri/v in the acrostic series now 
running. Beggar: Mr. B, (i. Prarce, 5 T Ethelbert Road, 
Bromley. Kent. Corisande : Mrs, Bridges, 27, Hunbury 
Road, OHfton, Bristol. Junius: Mr. F. C. \Y\ (irigson, 
Bickley Hall, Bit kley, Rent. H. H. : Mr, E, V, . M, 
Lloyd, Hartford House, Winch Held, Hants. Osbo: Mr. 
IV, ^tratllmg, Royal Naval I dirge, UuJwrnc, I.YV, 

VERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



CURIOSITIES. 

\\\'e shall be glad to Tt&ivt Conlt ibuli&ns \q this tettton* and to pay for such as ate mcepUd-] 

in colour, — Miss Irene D* Walbaum, 59, Santa 
Victorina, Gerro Alegre, Valparaiso, Chile, 




AN IDEA WORTH ADOPTING, 

BY placing the street names iri letters of electric 
light on the kerb, San Francisco develoi>ed a 
brand new idea in street signs. They are more 
conspicuous than the type used on lamp -posts or 
metal standards, and by night they are even easier 
to read than by day. The lights are enclosed in a 
cast-steel case that is set flush with the kerb both 
ways* Facing the street-crossing are the letters that 
spell the name. They are formed of perf orations in 
the metal and are protected by heavy glass, and after 
dark, when the light shines through them, the eye is 
caught at once. To make them easily readable by 
day, the letters are blocked in with white paint. 
This novel plan was tried in the centre of the city, 
where the traffic is thickest, and was a great success, 
particularly in the districts where there are always 
many tourists and o her strangers not familiar with 
the city,— Mr. C- L- Edholm, Wyoming, Rhode 
Island, UrSA, 



o 



A NEW USE FOR RED CROSS STAMPS. 
LT here in Valparaiso, Chile, we have been 
raising funds for the Allies' Red Cross work 

by means of 
a series of 
5" amps. These 
being very 
b r i g h t I y 
coloured, it 
occurred to 
me that 
good use 
might be made 
of them for 
decorative 
purposes, and 
I urn send- 
ing you a 
photograph of 
a large stone 
jar which 
has been 
covered with 
them to very 
pood effect, 
much of 
which, of 
course, is here 
lost owing to 
the reproduc- 
tion not being 




WHAT IS IT? 

N0 1 not a new species of matt or animator 
simply the shell of a crayfish dressed up bj 




an enterprising chef to ornament the table of a K 1 : { 

portions are Dem 



Mail steamer, whilst his tender 
devoured,— Mr. F* W. RandeN, 
S. Woodford. 



58* 



SOLUTION OF BRIDGE PROBLEM IN ^ ST 

MONTH'S ISSUE 



Trick 1.— A leads any diamond; B trump* 

the 2. * l ihf 

Trick 2,— H leads 6 of hearts, won by A «i 111 

B trump* «* 



law. 

Trick 3.— A leads 

the 5. 



any diamond 



4,— B leads the 8 of hearts, and 2 rc^ ^ 
any one of three things. If (1) he trumps w ■ ^ 
overtrumps and leads his other trump. « L'^ 
trumjis with the ace, A discards a diamond. | 
Z discards his spade, the B of hearts wm % nW ,u 
follows with a small trump. In do case can £ 
more than his ace of trumps- j,f t ci c 

Note* — Every other mode of attack can he 01 
if V Z phiv properly* 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



IRAND DOUBLE SUMMER DUMBER 

CONAN DOYLE ON THE BATTLE OF u JHBf A*SW e 




A NEW LONG 
COMPLETE NOVEL 

ETHEL M DELL 

°Zfe Safety- Curtain 

MOST ENTHRALLING STORY THE AUTHOR OF*THE WAY OF AN EAGLE* HAS WRITTEN 





v '•'"". -•/•■■ 



• ... ■•-.•!; 

•■■- ; 



Surpasses ordinary milk 
and most creams. 

Ideal Milk is milk and cream as well — and serves 
every purpose of the two. Its " Thickness " comes 
from the useless moisture having been extracted ; 
add water and it is milk again, 

Ideal Milk is more easy to digest than Dairy 

Milk — it has a most delicious flavour, is most 

wholesome and nutritious, and is c ideal ' for every 
cooking and table purpose. 

IDEAL MILK 

THE EVERYDAY MILK 



GUARANTEED ABSOLUTELY PURE. 

FROM PRESERVATIVES. — NO SUGAR. 

Sold by all Qrocers and Stores. 
Cash price 4cL and 7 id- per tin. 



As supplied to the Navy and Army 



& % 

>.. .■■;.d 

i . 
• 

:■ " V- 
■i : :;■■:-:' 

JIS. 

; f 

- 

'. ;■■■-. 

■ w 









„ ;--;',^ 




■ ■ • ^ - .w^W'"" ' 



VERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



(""rw^nL'' Original from 

by VjUU^IC UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




THE lax WEST YORKSHIRES TAKING PART IN A COUNTER-ATTACK 
AT THE BATTLE OF THE AISfiE. 

"THE ADVANCE WAS OVER HALF A MILE OF GROUND, MOST OF WHICH WAS 
CLEAR OF ANY SORT OF COVER, BUT IT WAS MAGNIFICENTLY CARRIED OUT 

AND IRRESISTIBLE IN ITS IMPETUS." 



bydC 



(5« tags 1 1, 



(MlYERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




BRITISH CAMPAIGN 
,-- IN FRANCE 




CHAPTER IV. — (Continued.) 

THE BATTLE OF THE AISNE. 

The Sixth Division — Hardships of the Army — German 
Breach of Faith — "Tatez Toujours" The General 
Position — Attack Upon the West Yorks — ^Counter- 
Attack by Congreve's Eighteenth Brigade — Rheims 
Cathedral — Spies — The Siege and Fall of Antwerp — 

Parma and William, 




HE next day, September 15th, 
was spent for the most part 
in making good the position 
gained and deepening the 
trenches to get some protection 
from the ever-growing artillery 
fire, which was the more in- 
tense as the great siege guns from Maubeuge 
were upon this day, for the first time, brought 
into action. At first the terrific explosions of 
these shells, the largest by far which had ever 
been brought into an actual line of battle, 

VoL lit — 8. Copyright^ 1916, by 



were exceedingly alarming, but after a time 
it became realized that, however omnipotent 
they might be against iron or concrete, they 
were comparatively harmless in soft soil, 
where their enormous excavations were soon 
used as convenient ready-made rifle-pits by 
the soldiers. This heavy fire led to a 
deepening of the trenches, which necessi- 
tated a general levy of picks and shovels 
from the country round, for a large portion 
of such equipment, had been lost in the first 

I^&BHWW MICHIGAN 



io8 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



THE SIXTH DIVISION. 

Only two active movements were made 
in the course of the day, one being that 
Hamilton's Third Division advanced once more 
towards Aizy and established itself a mile or 
more to the north in a better tactical position. 
The Seventh Brigade suffered considerable 
casualties in this change, including Colonel 
Hasted, of the ist Wilts. The other was 
that Ferguson's Fifth Division fell back from 
Chivres, where it was exposed to a cross fire, 
and made its lines along the river bank, 
whence the Germans were never able to drive 
it, although they were only four hundred 
yards away in a position which was high 
above it. For the rest, it was a day of 
navvy's toil, though the men worked alter- 
nately with rifle and with pick, for there 
were continual German advances which 
withered away before the volleys which 
greeted them. By the 16th the position was 
fairly secure, and on the same day a welcome 
reinforcement arrived in the shape of the 
Sixth Division, forming the missing half of 
Pulteney's Third Corps. . 

Its composition is here appended : — 

DIVISION VI.-Gen. Keir. 
16th Infantry Brigade — Gen. 
Ing. Williams. 
1st East Kent 
1st Leicester. 

1st Shropshire Light Infantry. 
2nd York and Lancaster. 

17th Infantry Brigade— Gen. 
Walter Doran. 
1st Royal Fusiliers. 
1st N. Stafford. 
2nd La* casters. 
3rd Rifle Brigade. 

18th Infantry Brigade— Gen. 
Congreve. 
1st W. York. 
1st £. York. 
2nd Notts and Derby (Sherwood 

Foresters). 
2nd Durham Light Infantry. 



Artillery. 
II. Brig. 21, 


42, 


53. 


XII. „ 43, 


86, 


87. 


XXIV. „ 110, 


111. 


112. 


XXXVIII. „ 24, 


34, 


72. 


R.G.A. 24. 







HARDSHIPS OF THE ARMY. 

This division was kept in reserve upon the 
south side of the river. The French Com- 
mander - in - Chief had intimated that he 
intended to throw in reinforcements upon 
the left of the Sixth French Army, and so, 
as he hoped, to turn the German right. It 
was determined, therefore, that there should 
be no attempt at a British advance, but that 



the Allies should be content with holding 
the enemy to his positions. The two armies 
lay facing each other, therefore, at an average 
distance of about five hundred yards. The 
pressure was still most severe upon the Second 
Brigade on the extreme right. Bulfin's 
orders were to hold on at all costs, as he 
was the pivot of the whole line. He and his 
men responded nobly to the responsibility, 
although both they and their neighbours of 
Maxsc's First Brigade had sustained a loss of 
over a thousand men each upon the 14th — 
twenty-five per cent, of their number. The 
shell-fire was incessant and from several con- 
verging directions. German infantry attacks 
were constant by night and by day, and 
the undrained trenches were deep in water. 
The men lay without overcoats and drenched 
to the skin, for the rain was incessant. Yet 
the sixth day found them on the exact ground 
upon which they had thrown their weary 
bodies after their attack. Nations desire 
from time to time to be reassured as to their 
own virility. Neither in endurance nor in 
courage have the British departed from the 
traditions of their ancestors. The unending 
strain of the trenches reached the limits of 
human resistance. But the line was always 
held. 

On September 16th occurred an incident 
which may be taken as typical of the difference 
in the spirit with which the British and the 
Germans make war. Close to the lines of 
the Guards a barn which contained fifty 
wounded Germans was ignited by the 
enemy's shells. Under a terrific fire a rescue 
party rushed forward and got the unfortunate 
men to a place of safety. Many of the 
British lost their lives in this exploit, including 
Dr. Huggan, the Scottish International 
footballer. The Germans mock at our respect 
for sport, and yet this is the type of man 
that sport breeds, and it is the want of 
them in their own ranks which will stand 
for ever between us. 

September 17th was a day of incessant 
attacks upon the right of the line, continually 
repulsed and yet continually renewed. One 
can well sympathize with the feelings of the 
German commanders who, looking down from 
their heights, saw the British line in a most 
dangerous strategical position, overmatched 
by their artillery, and with a deep river in their 
rear, and yet were unable to take advantage 
of it because of their failure to carry the one 
shallow line of extemporized trenches. Natu- 
rally, they came again and again, by night 
and bv dav, with admirable perseverance 

an flhfl?feff'3wtetf ,ut were a,ways 



THE BRITISH CAMPAIGN IN FRANCE. 



109 



forced to admit that nothing can be done 
against the magazine rifle in hands which 
know how to use it. They tried here and 
they tried there, these constant sudden 
outpourings of cheering, hurrying, grey- 
clad men. They were natural tactics, hut 
expensive ones, for every new attack left a 
fresh fringe of stricken men in front of the 
British lines. 

GERMAN BREACH OF FAITH. 

One incident upon the 17th stands out 

amid the somewhat monotonous record of 

trench attacks. On the extreme right of 

the British line a company of the 1st North- 

amptons occupied a most exposed position 

on the edge of the Chemin-des-dames. The 

men in a German trench which was some 

hundreds of yards in front hoisted a white flag 

and then advanced upon the British lines. It 

is well to be charitable in all these white flag 

incidents, since it is always possible on either 

side that unauthorized men may hoist it and 

the officer in command very properly refuse to 

recognize it ; but in this case the deception 

appears to have been a deliberate one. 

These are the facts. On seeing the flag, 

Captain Savage, of B Company Northamptons, 
got out of the trench and with Lieutenant 
Dimmer, of the Rifles, advanced to the 
Germans. He threw down his sword and 
revolver to show that he was unarmed. He 
found a difficulty in getting a direct answer 
from the Germans, so he saluted their officer 
(who returned his salute), and turned back 
to walk to his own trench. Dimmer, looking 
hack, saw the Germans level their rifles, so 
he threw himself down, crying out, " For 
God's sake, get down ! " Captain Savage 
stood erect and was riddled with bullets. 
Many of the Northamptons, including Lieu- 
tenant Gordon, were shot down by the same 
volley. The Germans then attempted an 
advance, which was stopped by the machine- 
guns of the 1 st Queen's Surrey. Such 
deplorable actions must always destroy all 
the amenities of civilized warfare. 

On the afternoon of the same day, Septem- 
ber 17th, a more serious attack was made 
upon the right flank of the advanced British 
position, the enemy re-occupying a line of 
trenches from which they had previously 
been driven. It was a dismal day of wind, 
rain, and mist, but the latter was not wholly 
an evil, as it enabled that hard-worked regi- 
ment, the 1 st Northamptons, under their 
colonel, Osborne Smith, to move swiftly 
forward and, with the help of the 1st Queen's 
West Surrey, carry the place at the bayonet 



point. Half the Germans in the trench were 
put out of action, thirty-eight taken, and the 
rest fled. Pushing on after their success, 
they found the ridge beyond held by a con- 
siderable force of German infantry. The 
2nd King's Rifles had come into the fight, and 
a dismounted squadron of the composite 
cavalry regiment put in some good work upon 
the flank. The action was continued briskly 
until dark, when both sides retained their 
ground with the exception of the captured 
line of trenches, which remained with the 
British. Seven officers and about two 
hundred men were killed or wounded in this 
little affair. ^ 

"TATEZ TOUJOURS." 

The 1 8th fbund the enemy still acting 
upon the Napoleonic advice of '* Tdtez 
toujour s" All day they were feeling for that 
weak place which could never be found. The 
constant attempts were carried on into the 
night with the same monotonous record of 
advance leading to repulse. At one time 
it was the line of the 1st Queen's Surrey — and 
no line in the Army would be less likely to 
give results. Then it was the left flank 
of the First Division, and then the front of 
the Second. 

Now and again there were swift counters 
from the British, in one of which an enemy's 
trench was taken by the 1st Gloucesters with 
the two machine-guns therein. But there was 
no inducement for any general British 
advance. u We have nothing to lose by 
staying here," said a general, " whereas 
every day is of importance to the Germans, 
so the longer we can detain them here the 
better." So it seemed from the point of 
view of the Allies. There is a German point 
of view also, however, which is worthy of 
consideration. They were aware, and others 
were not, that great reserves of men were left 
in the Fatherland, even as there were in France 
and in Britain, but that, unlike France and 
Britain, they actually had the arms and 
equipment for them, so that a second host 
could rapidly be called into the field. If these 
legions were in Belgium, they could ensure the 
fall of Antwerp, overrun the country, and seize 
the sea-board. All this could be effected while 
the Allies were held at the Aisne. Later, 
with these vast reinforcements, the German 
armies might burst the barrier which held 
them and make a second descent upon Paris, 
which was still less than fifty miles away. 
So the Germans may have argued, and the 
history of the future was to show that there 
were some grounds for such a calculation. It 
was in -truth a second war in which once 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



no 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 






again the Germans 
had the men and 
material ready, 
while the Allies had 
not. 

THE GENERAL 
POSITION. 

This date, Sep- 
tember 1 8th, may be 
taken as the conclu- 
sion of the actual 
Battle of the Aisne, 
since from that time 
the operations 
defined themselves 
definitely as a 
mutual siege and 
gigantic artillery 
duel. The casualties 
of the British at the 
Aisne amounted, up 
to that date, to ten 
thousand officers 
and men, the great 
majority of which 
were suffered by 
Haig's First Army 
Corps. The action 
had lasted from the; 
13th, and its out- 
standing features , 
so far as our forces 
were concerned , 
may be said to have 
been the remarkable 
feat of crossing the 
river and the fine 
leadership of 
General Haig in the 
dangerous position 

in which he found himself. It has been 
suggested that the single unbroken bridge 
by which he crossed may have been a 
trap purposely laid by the Germans, whose 
plans miscarried owing to the simultaneous 
forcing of the river at many other points. 
This seems to be contradicted by the fact 
that the charges for destroying "the bridge 
were actually in position, though, of course, 
that also may have been part of the deception. 
As it was, the position of the First Corps was a 
very difficult one, and a reverse might have 
become an absolute disaster. It was impos- 
sible for General French to avoid this risk, 
for since the weather precluded all air recon- 
naissance, it was only by pushing his Army 
across that he could be sure of the enemy's 
dispositions. The net result was one more 




GERMAN BREACH OF FAITH : THE ABUSE OF THE WHITE 

1st NORT HAMPTONS WERE CUT 

" SUCH DEPLORABLE ACTIONS MUST ALWAYS DESTROY 

demonstration upon both sides that the 
defensive force has so great an advantage 
under modern conditions that if there be 
moderate equality of numbers, and if the 
flanks of each be guarded; a condition of 
stalemate will invariably ensue, until the 
campaign is decided by economic causes 
or by military movements in some other part 
of the field of operations. 

There is ample evidence that for the time 
the German army, though able with no 
great effort to hold the extraordinarily strong 
position which had been prepared for it, was 
actually in very bad condition. Large new 
drafts had been brought out, which had not 
yet been assimilated by the army* The 
resistance of Maubeuge had blocked one of 
thg R p^^^p^ & ^^r some time the 



THE BRITISH CAMPAIGN IN FRANCE. 



in 




FLAG AN INCIDENT SHOWING HOW A COMPANY OF THE 
DOWN THROUGH GERMAN TREACHERY. 

ALL THE AMENITIES OF CIVILIZE L> WARFARE* 

commissariat had partially broken down. 
Above all, they were mentally depressed by 
meeting such resistance where they had been 
led to expect an easy victory, by their forced 
retreat when almost within sight of Paris, 
and by their losses, which had been enor- 
mous, In spite of their own great superiority 
in heavy guns, the French light field-pieces 
had controlled the battlefields* There is 
ample evidence in the letters which have 
been intercepted, apart from the statements 
and appearance of the prisoners, to show 
the want and depression which prevailed. 
This period, however, may be said to mark 
the nadir of the German fortunes in this year. 
The fall of Maubeuge improved their supplies 
of every sort, their reserves and Landwehr 
got broken in by the war of the trenches, and 



the eventual fall of 
Antwerp and inva- 
sion of Western 
Belgium gave them 
that moral stimulus 
which they badly 
needed. 

Some wit amongst 
the officers has de- 
scribed the war as 
" months of boredom 
broken by moments 
of agony/' It is the 
duty of the chronicler 
to describe, even if 
he attempts to 
alleviate, the former, 
for the most mono- 
tonous procession of 
events form integral 
parts of the great 
whole. The perusal 
of a great number of 
diaries and experi- 
ences leaves a vague 
and disconnected 
recollection behind it 
of personal escapes, 
of the terror of high 
explosives, of the 
excellence of the rear 
services of the Army, 
of futile shellings, 
with an occasional 
tragic mishap, where 
some group of men 
far from the front 
were suddenly, by 
some freak of fate, 
blown to destruction, 
of the discomforts of 
wet trenches and the joys of an occasional 
relief in the villages at the rear. Here and 
there, however, in the monotony of what had 
now become a mutual siege, there stand out 
some episodes or developments of a more 
vital character, which will be recorded in 
their sequence. 

It may be conjectured that, up to the period 
of the definite entrenchment of the two 
armies, the losses of the enemy were not 
greater than our own. It is in the attack 
that losses are incurred, and the attack had, 
for the most part, been with us. The heavier 
guns of the Germans had also been a factor 
in their favour. From the 18th onwards, 
however, the weekly losses of the enemy must 
have been verv much grater than ours, since 

■ j titrivE^miteii hey made 



112 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 




THE SCENE OF THE FIGHTING DESCRIBED IN THE PRESENT CHAPTER. 



onslaughts, which attained some partial and 
temporary success upon the 20th, but which 
on every other occasion were blown back 
by the rifle-fire with which they were met. 
So mechanical and half-hearted did they 
at- last become that they gave the impression 
that those who made them had no hope of 
success, and that they were only done at the 
bidding of some imperious or imperial voice 
from the distance. In these attacks, though 
any one of them may have only furnished 
a few hundred casualties, the total effect 
spread over a month must have equalled that 
of a very great battle, and amounted, since 
no progress was ever made, to a considerable 
defeat. 

Thus on September 19th there was a 
succession of attacks, made with considerable 
vivacity and proportional loss. About 4 p.m. 
one developed in front of the Fourth and 
Sixth Brigades of the First Corps, but was 
speedily stopped. An hour later another 
one burst forth upon the Seventh and Ninth 
Brigades of the Second Corps, with the same 
result. The artillery fire was very severe all 
day and the broad valley was arched from 
dawn to dusk by the flying shell. The weather 
was still detestable, and a good many were 
reported ill from the effects of constant wet 
and cold. 

The 20th was the date of two separate 
attacks, one of which involved some hard 
fighting and considerable loss. The first, 
at eight in the morning, was upon Shaw's 
Ninth Brigade and was driven off without 
great difficulty. The second was the more 
serious and demands some fuller detail. 

ATTACK UPON THE WEST YORKS. 

On the arrival of the Sixth Division upon 
the 1 8th, Sir John French had determined 
to hold them in reserve and to use them to 



relieve, in turn, each of the brigades which 
had been so hard-worked during the previous 
week. Of these, there was none which needed 
and deserved a rest more than Bulfin's 
Second Brigade, which, after their attack 
upon the Chemin-des-dames upon the 14th, 
had made and held the trenches which formed 
both the extreme right and the advanced 
point of .the British line. For nearly a week 
these men of iron had lain where the battle 
had left them. With the object of relieving 
them, the Eighteenth Brigade (Congreve's) of 
the Sixth Division was ordered to take their 
places. The transfer was successfully effected 
at night, but the new-comers, who had only 
arrived two days before from England, 
found themselves engaged at once in a very 
serious action. It may have been coinci- 
dence, or it may have been that with their 
remarkable system of espionage the Germans 
learned that new troops had taken the place 
of those whose mettle they had tested so often ; 
but however this may be, they made a vigorous 
advance upon the afternoon of September 
20th, coming on so rapidly and in such num- 
bers that they drove out the occupants both 
of the front British trenches — which were 
manned by three companies of the 1st West 
Yorkshires — and the adjoining French trench 
upon the right, which was held by the Turcos. 
The West Yorkshires were overwhelmed 
and enfiladed with machine-guns, a number 
were shot down, and others were taken 
prisoners. 

COUNTER-ATTACK BY CONGREVE'S 
EIGHTEENTH BRIGADE. 

Fortunately, the rest of the brigade were 
in immediate support, and orders were given 
by General Congreve to advance and to regain 
the ground that had been lost. The rush up 

the i*mmMrt:&N the 2nd Notts 



THE BRITISH CAMPAIGN IN FRANCE. 



"3 



and" Dert>y~ Regiment (Sherwood Foresters) 
in the centre, with the remainder of the 
West Yorks upon their right, and the 2nd 
Durham Light Infantry upon their left. 
They were supported by the 1st East Yorks 
and by the 2nd Sussex Regiment, which had 
just been called out of the line for a rest. 
The 4th Irish Dragoon Guards at a gallop at 
first, and then dismounting with rifle and 
bayonet, were in the forefront of the fray. 
The advance was over half a mile of ground, 
most of which was clear of any sort of cover, 
but it was magnificently carried out and 
irresistible in its impetus. All the regiments 
lost heavily, but all reached their goal. 
Officers were hit again and again, but stag- 
gered on with their men. Captain Popham, 
of the Sherwood Foresters, is said to have 
carried six wounds with him up the slope. 
Fifteen officers and two hundred and fifty 
men were shot down, but the lost trench 
was carried at the point of the bayonet and 
the whole position re-established. The total 
casualties were thirteen hundred and sixty- 
four, more than half of which fell upon the 
West Yorkshires, while the majority of the 
others were Sherwood Foresters, East York- 
shires, and Durhams. Major Robb, of the 
latter regiment, was among those who fell. 
The Germans did not hold the trenches for 
an hour, and yet the engagement may be 
counted as a success for them, since our losses 
were certainly heavier than theirs. There 
was no gain, however, in ground. The action 
was more than a mere local attack, and the 
British line was in danger of being broken 
had it not been for the determined counter- 
attack of the Eighteenth Brigade. To the 
north of this main attack there was another 
subsidiary movement on the Beaulne ridge, 
in which the Fifth and Sixth Brigades were 
sharply engaged. The 1st King's, the 2nd 
H.L.I. , and the 2nd Worcesters all sustained 
some losses. 

About this period, both the British and 
the French armies began to strengthen them- 
selves with those heavy guns in which they 
had been so completely overweighted by their 
enemy. On the 20th the French in the neigh- 
bourhood of our lines received twelve long- 
range cannon, firing a thirty-five-pound shell 
a distance of twelve kilometres. Three days 
later the British opened fire with four new 
batteries of six-inch howitzers. From this 
time onwards there was no such great disparity 
in the heavy artillery, and the wounded from 
the monster shells of the enemy had at least 
the slight solace that their fate was not un- 
avenged. The expenditure of shells, how- 



ever, was still at the rate of ten German to 
one of the Allies. If the war was not won 
it was no fault of Krupp and the men of 
Essen. In two weeks the British lost nearly 
three thousand men from shell-fire. 

RHEIMS CATHEDRAL. 

It was at this time, September 20th, that 
the Germans put a climax upon the long 
series of outrages and vandalisms of which 
their troops .had been guilty by the deli- 
berate bombardment of Rheims Cathedral, 
the Westminster Abbey of France. The act 
seems to have sprung from deliberate malice, 
for though it was asserted afterwards that the 
tower had, been used as an artillery observa- 
tion point, this is in the highest degree impro- 
bable, since the summit of the ridge upon the 
French side is available for such a purpose. 
The cathedral was occupied at the time by a 
number of German wounded, who were the 
sufferers by the barbarity of their fellow- 
countrymen. The incident will always re- 
main as a permanent record of the value of 
that Kultur over which we have heard such 
frantic boasts. The records of the French, 
Belgian, and British Commissions upon the 
German atrocities, reinforced by the recollec- 
tion of the burned University of Louvain and 
the shattered Cathedral of Rheims, will leave 
a stain upon the German armies of 1914-1915 
which can never be erased. Their conduct is 
the more remarkable since the invasion of 
1870 was conducted with a stern but rigid 
discipline which won the acknowledgment of 
the world. In spite of all the material pro- 
gress and the superficial show of refinement, 
little more than a generation seems to have 
separated civilization from primitive bar- 
barity, which attained such a pitch that no 
arrangement could be made by which the 
wounded between the lines could be brought 
in. Such was the code of a nominally Christian 
nation in the year 19 14. 

Up to now the heavier end of the fighting 
had been borne by Haig's First Corps, but 
"from the 20th onwards the Second and Third 
sustained the impact. The action just de- 
scribed, in which the West Yorkshires suffered 
so severely, was fought mainly by the 
Eighteenth Brigade of Pulteney's Third Corps. 
On the 21 st it was the turn of the Second 
Corps. During the night the 1st Wiltshire 
Regiment of McCracken's Seventh Brigade 
was attacked, and making a strong counter- 
attack in the morning they cleared a wood with 
the bayonet, and advanced the British line 
at that point. A subsequent attack upon the 

same brigade ^fftTO CH g£fi he&Vy the 






ii4 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 




IN THE GERMAN TRENCHES ON THE A1SNE DURING A NIGHT ENGAGEMENT, 

From a drawing mad?, on tk* tpo< bv a Ge^nan artitL 



losses had been in the wear and tear of six 
days' continual trench work is shown by the 
fact that when on this date the Ninth Brigade 
(Shaw's) was taken back for a rest it had lost 
thirty officers and eight hundred and sixty 
men, or nearly twenty-five per cent, of its 
total number, since crossing the Aisne. 

The German heavy guns upon the 21st set 
fire to the village of Missy, driving out the 
1 st East Surreys who held it. They still con- 
tinued; however, to hold on to the trenches 
on the river bank, though they, in common 
with the rest of Ferguson's Division, were 
dominated night and day by a plunging fire 
from above* It is worth recording that in 
spite of the strain, the hardship, and the wet 
trenches, the percentage of serious sickness 
among the troops was lower than the normal 
rate of a garrison town. A few cases of enteric 
appeared about this time, of which six were in 
one company of the Coldstream Guards, It 
is instructive to note that in each case the 
man belonged to the uninoculated minority, 

SPIES. 

A plague of spies infested the British and 
French lines at this period , and their ela- 
borate telephone installations, leading from 
haystacks or from cellars, showed the fore- 
sight of the enemy. Some of these w p ere 
German officers, who bravelv took their lives 



in their hands from the patriotic motive of 
helping their country. Others, alas ! were 
residents w r ho had sold their souls for German 
gold. One such — a farmer — was found with a 
telephone within his house and no less a sum 
than a thousand pounds in specie. Many a 
battery concealed in a hollow, and many a 
convoy in a hidden road, were amazed by the 
accuracy of a fire which was really directed f 
not from the distant guns, but from some way- 
side hiding-place. Fifteen of these men were 
shot and the trouble abated. 

The attacks upon the British trenches, which 
had died down for several days, were renewed 
with considerable vigour upon September 
26th. The first j directed against the 1st 
Queen's Surrey, was carried out by a force of 
about out thousand men, who advanced in 
close order, and, coming under machine-gun 
ftre ; were rapidly broken up. The second was 
made by a German battalion debouching from 
the woods in front of the 1st South Waks 
Borderers, This attack penetrated the line 
at one point, the left company of the regiment 
suffering severely, with all its officers down. 
The reserve company, with the help of the 2nd 
Welsh Regiment, retook the trenches after a 
hot fight, which ended by the wood being 
cleared* The Germans lost heavily in this 
struggle, eighty of them being picked up on 
the very edgo of the trench. The Borderer 5 

IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE BRITISH CAMPAIGN IN FRANCE. 



ii5 



also had" numerous casualties, which totalled- 
up to seven officers fend one hundred and 
eighty^two men^ half of whom were actually 
killed. < 

The Army was now in a very strong position, 
for the trenches were so well constructed that 
unless a shell by some miracle went right in, 
no harm would result. -The weather had 
become fine once mofe> and the flying service 
relieved the anxieties of the commanders as 
to a massed attack. The heavy artillery of 
the Allies was also improving from day to day, 
especially the heavy British howitzers, aided 
by aeroplane observers with a wireless in- 
stallation. ' . 

At this period the enemy seems to have 
realized that his attacks, whether against the 
British line or against the French armies- 
which flanked it, and which had fought 
throughout with equal tenacity, were a mere 
waste of life. The assaults died away or 
became mere demonstrations. Early in Octo- 
ber the total losses of the Army upon the Aisne 
had been five hundred and sixty-one officers 
and twelve thousand nine hurtdred and eighty 
men, a proportion which speaks well for the 
coolness and accuracy of the enemy's sharp- 
shooters, while it exhibits our own forget- 
fulness of the lessons of the African War, 
where we learned that the officer should be 
clad and armed so like the men as to be in- 
distinguishable even at short ranges. Of this 
large total the Second Corps lost one hundred 
and thirty-six officers and three thousand and 
ninety-five men, and the First Corps three 
hundred and forty-eight officers and six thou- 
sand and seventy-three men, the remaining 
seventy-seven officers and three thousand 
eight hundred and twelve men being from the 
Third Corps and the cavalry. 

THE SIEGE AND FALL OF ANTWERP. 

It was at this period that a great change 
came over both the object and the locality 
of the operations. This change depended 
upon two events which had occurred far to 
the north, and re-acted upon the great 
armies locked in the long grapple of the 
Aisne. The first of these controlling cir- 
cumstances was that, by the movement of 
the old troops and the addition of new ones, 
each army had sought to turn the flank of 
the other in the north, until the whole centre 
of gravity of the war was transferred to that 
region. A new French army under General 
Castelnau, whose fine defence of Nancy had 
put him in the front of French leaders, had 
appeared on the extreme left wing of the 
Allies, only to be countered by fresh bodies 



61 Germans, until the ever*6xtending line 
lengthened out to the manufacturing districts 
of Lens and . Lisle, where amid • pit-shafts 
and slag-heaps the cavalry of the French 
and the Germans tried desperately to get 
round each other's flanks. The other 
factor was the fall of Antwerp, which 
had released very large bodies of Germans, 
who were flooding over Western Belgium, 
and, with the help of great new levies from 
Germany, carrying the war to the sand-dunes 
of the coast. The operations which brought 
about this : great change open up a new 
chapter in the history of the war. The actual 
events Which culminated in the -fall 1 6f Ant- 
werp may be' very briefly handled, since, 
important as they were, they were not 
primarily part of the British task^and-hence 
hardly come within the scope of : this 
narrative. 

PARMA AND WILLIAM. 

The Belgians> after the evacuation of Brus- 
sels in August, had withdrawn their army 
into the widespread fortress of Antwerp, 
from which they made frequent sallies upon 
the Germans who were garrisoning their 
country. Great activity was shown and 
several small successes were gained, which 
had the useful ♦ effect of detaining two corps 
which might have been employed upon the 
Aisne. Eventually, towards the end of 
September, the Germans turned their atten- 
tion seriously to the reduction of the city, 
with a well-founded confidence that no 
modern forts could resist the impact of their 
enormous artillery. They drove the garrison 
within the lines, and early in October opened 
a bombardment upon the outer forts with such 
results that it was evidently only a matter 
of days before they would fall and the fine 
old city be faced with the alternative of sur- 
render or destruction. The Spanish fury 
of Parma's pikemen would be a small thing 
compared to the furor Teutonicus working 
its evil deliberate will upon town-hall or 
cathedral, with the aid of fire-disc, petrol- 
spray, or other products of culture. The main 
problem before the Allies, if the town could 
not be saved, was to ensure that the Belgian 
army should be extricated and that nothing 
of military value which could be destroyed 
should be left to the invaders. No troops 
were available for a rescue, for the French 
and British old formations were already 
engaged, while the new ones were not yet 
ready for action. In these circumstances, a 
resolution was come to by the British leaders 
which w^^^^^^j^rashness and 



n6 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



so chivalrous as JtO; be almost . quixotic/ 1 It * 
was determined .to send out at the shortest 
notice a naval division, one brigade of which 
consisted of marines, troops who are second 
to none in the country's service, while the 
other two brigades were young amateur 
sailor volunteers, most of whom had only 
been under arms for a few weeks. It was 
an extraordinary experiment, as testing how 
far the average sport-loving, healthy-minded 
young Briton needs only his equipment to 
turn him into a soldier who, in spite of all 
rawness and inefficiency, can still affect the 
course of a campaign. This strange force, 
one-third veterans and two-thirds practically 
civilians, was hurried across to do what it 
could for the failing town, and to demonstrate 
to Belgium how real was the sympathy 
which prompted us to send all that we had. 
A reinforcement of a very different quality 
was dispatched a few days later in the shape 
of the Seventh Division of the Regular Army, 
with the Third Division of Cavalry. These 
fine troops were too late, however, to save 
the city, and soon found themselves in a 
position where it needed all their hardihood 
to save themselves. 

The Marine Brigade of the Naval Division 
under General Paris was dispatched from 
England in the early morning and reached 
Antwerp during the night of October 3rd. 
They were about two thousand in number. 
Early next morning they were out in the 
trenches, relieving some weary Belgians. 
The Germans were already within the outer 
enceinte and drawing close to the inner. 
For forty-eight hours they held the line in 
the face of heavy shelling. The cover was 
good and the losses were not heavy. At 
the end of that time the Belgian troops, 
who had been a good deal worn by their 
heroic exertions, were unable to sustain 
the German pressure, and evacuated the 
trenches on the flank of the British line. 
The brigade then fell back to a reserve 
position in front of the town. 

On the night of the 5th the two other 
brigades of the division, numbering some 
five thousand amateur sailors, arrived in 
Antwerp, and the whole force assembled on 
the new line of defence. The bombardment 
was now very heavy, and the town was on 
fire in several places. The equipment of 
the British le£t much to be desired, and 
their trenches were as indifferent as their 
training. None the less they played the 
man and lived up to the traditions of that 
great service upon whose threshold they 
stood. For three days these men, who a 



few " weeks before had been * anything from 
schoolmasters to tram-conductors^ held their 
perilous posk They were very , raw, -but 
they possessed a great asset in their officers, 
who were usually men of long service. But 
neither the lads of the naval brigades nor 
the war-worn and much-enduring Belgians 
could stop the mouths of those inexorable 
guns. On the 8th it was clear that the 
forts could no longer be held. The British 
task had T^een to maintain the trenches 
which connected the forts with each other, 
but if the forts went it was clear that the 
trenches must be outflanked and untenable. 
The situation, therefore, was hopeless, and 
all that remained was to save the garrison 
and leave as little as possible for the victors. 
Some thirty or forty German merchant ships 
in the harbour were sunk and the great petrol 
tanks were set on fire. By the light of the 
flames the Belgian and British forces made 
their way successfully out of the town, and 
the glorious service rendered later by our 
Allies upon the Yser and elsewhere is the 
best justification of the policy which made 
us strain every nerve in order to do every- 
thing which could have a moral or material 
effect upon them in their darkest hour. 
Had our own force been able to get away 
unscathed, the whole operation might have 
been reviewed with equanimity if not with 
satisfaction, but, unhappily, a grave mis- 
fortune, arising rather from bad luck than 
from the opposition of the enemy, came upon 
the retreating brigades, so that very many 
of our young sailors after their one week of 
crowded life came to the end of their active 
service for the war. 

On leaving Antwerp it had been necessary 
to strike to the north in order to avoid a large 
detachment of the enemy who were said to 
be upon the line of the retreat. The boundary 
between Holland and Belgium is at this point 
very intricate, with no clear line of demarca- 
tion, and a long column of British somnam- 
bulists, staggering along in the dark after so 
many days in which they had for the most 
part never enjoyed two consecutive hours of 
sleep, wandered over the fatal line and found 
themselves in firm but kindly Dutch custody 
for the rest of the war. Some fell into the 
hands of the enemy, but the great majority 
were interned. These men belonged chiefly 
to three battalions of the First Brigade. The 
Second Brigade, with one battalion of the 
First, and the greater part of the Marines, 
made their way to the trains at St. Gilles- 
Waes, and were-able to reach Ostend in safety. 

Th 5hfffl^?f^ atta!ion of Marines ' with a 



THE BRITISH CAMPAIGN IN FRANCE. 



117 




ANTWERP IN FLAMES DURING THE BOMBARDMENT BY THE GERMANS. 

THIS DRAWING, WHICH WAS MADE FROM A SKETCH BY MR, H C SEPPINGS WRIGHT. 

^HO WAS IN ANTWERP DURING THE BOMBARDMENT, GIVES A VIVID IDEA OF THE 

LURID SCENE BY NIGHT IN THE STRICKEN CITY. 



number of stragglers of the other brigades, 
were cut off at Morbede by the Germans, and 
about half of them were taken, while the rest 
fought their way through in the darkness 
and joined their comrades. The total losses 
of the British in the whole misadventure from 
first to last were about two thousand five 
hundred men — a high price, and yet not too 
high when weighed against the results of their 
presence at AntVerp. On October 10th 
the Germans under General Von Beseler 
occupied the city. Mr. Powell, who was 
present, testifies that sixty thousand marched 
into the town, and that they were all troops 
of the active army. 

It has already been described how the 
northern ends of the two contending armies 
were endeavouring to outflank each other, 
and there seemed every possibility that this 
process would be carried out until each arrived 
p.t the coast. Early in October Sir John 



French represented to General Joffre that it 
would be well that the British Army should 
be withdrawn from the Aisne and take its 
position to the left of the French forces, a 
move which would shorten its line of corn- 
municatiotis very materially, and at the same 
time give it the task of defending the Channel 
coast. General Joffre agreed to the propo- 
sition, and the necessary steps were at once 
taken to put it into force. The Belgians had 
in the meanwhile made their way behind the 
line of the Yser, where a formidable position 
had been prepared. There, with hardly a 
day of rest, they were ready to renew the 
struggle with the ferocious ravagers of their 
country. The Belgian Government had been 
moved to France, and their splendid King, 
who will live in history as the most heroic 
and chivalrous figure of the war, continued 
by his brave words and noble example to 
animate the spirits of his countrymen. 



[To be continued.) 



by Google 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



The Aunt and the Sluggard. 

By P. G. WODEHOUSE. 

Illustrated by Alfred Leete. 



\ 



!QW that it's a\l over, I may as 
well admit that there was a 
lime during the rather rummy 
affair of Rockmetteller Todd 
when I thought that Jeeves 
was going to let me down. 
The man had the appearance 
of being baffled. 

Jeeves is my man, you know* Officially he 
pulls in his weekly wage for pressing my 
clothes, and all that sort of thing ; but 
actually he's more like what the poet Johnnie 
called some bird of his acquaintance who was 
apt to rally round him in times of need — a 
guide, don't you know ; philosopher, if I 
remember rightly, and — I rather fancy — 
friend. I rely on him at every turn. 

So naturally j when Rocky Todd told me 
about his aunt, I didn't hesitate, Jeeves was 
in on the thing from the start. 

The affair of Rocky Todd broke loq?e early 
one morning in spring. I was in bed, restoring 
the good old tissues wifh about nine hours of 
the dreamless, when the door flew open and 
somebody prodded me in the lower ribs and 
began to shake the bedclothes. After blinking 
a bit and generally pulling myself together, I 
located Rocky, and my first impression was 
that it was some horrid dream, 

Rocky, you see, lived down on Long Island 
somewhere, miles away from New York ; and 
not only that, but he had told me himself 
more than once that he never got up before 
twelve, and seldom earlier than one- Consti- 
tutionally the laziest young devil in America* 
he had hit on a walk in life which enabled 
him to go the limit in that direction. He was 
a poet. At least, he wrote poems when he 
did anything ; but most of his time, as far 
as I could make out, he spent in a sort of 
trance. He told me once that he could sit 
on a fence, watching a worm and wondering 
what on earth it was up to, for hours at a 
stretch. 

He had his scheme of life worked out to a 
fine point. About once a month he would 
lake three days writing a few poems ; the 



other three hundred and twenty-nine days of 
the year he rested. I didn't know there was 
enough money in poetry to support a chappie, 
even in the way in which Rocky lived ; but 
it seems that, if you stick to exhortations to 
young men to lead the strenuous life and 
don't shove in any rhymes, American editors 
fight for the stuff. Rocky showed me one of 
his things once. It began ; — 
Bel 
Be! 

The past is dead. 
To-morrow is not barn. 
Be to-day ! 
To-day / 

Be with every nerve, 
With every vmsde^ 
With every drop of your red blood I 
Bel 
It was printed opposite the frontispiece of 
a magazine with a sort of scroll round it, and 
a picture in the middle of a fairly nude 
chappie, with bulging muscles, giving the 
rising sun the glad eye. Rocky said they 
gave him a hundred dollars foT it, and he 
stayed in bed till four in the afternoon for 
over a month. 

As regarded the future he was pretty solid, 
owing to the fact that he had a moneyed aunt 
tucked away somewhere in Illinois ; and, as 
he had been named Rockmetteller after her, 
and was her only nephew, his position was 
pretty sound. He told me that when he did 
come into the money he meant to do no work 
at all, except perhaps an occasional poem 
recommending the young man with life 
opening out before him, with all its splendid 
possibilities, to light a pipe and shove his 
feet upon the mantelpiece. 

And this was the man who was prodding 
me in the ribs in the grey dawn ! 

" Read this, Bertie I " I could just see 
that he was waving a letter or something 
equally foul in mv face, " Wake up and read 
this! 1 * 

I can J t read before I've had my morning 

^fflfrtFgfiWMlifflSWf 1 for the WL 



THE AUNT AND THE SLUGGARD. 



119 



Jeeves came in, looking as fresh as a dewy 
violet. It's a mystery to me how he does it. 

-' Tea ^ Jeeves*" 

*' Very good, sir." 

He flowed silently out of the room — he 
always gives you the impression of being 
some liquid substance when he moves ; and 
I found that Rocky was surging round with 
his beaslly letter again, 

" What'is it ? " 1 said, " What on earth's 
the matter ? " 

" Read it ! " 

14 I can't. I haven't had my tea ." 




l( READ THIS, BERTIE 3 : ' 

u Well, listen then/ 7 

11 Who's it from ? H 

" My aunt." 

At this point I fell asleep again, I woke 
to hear him saying : — 

■' So what on earth am I to do ? " 

Jeeves trickled in with the tray, like some 
silent stream meandering over its mossy bed ; 
and I saw daylight. 



il Read it again, Rt cky, old top/' I said, 
" I want Jeeves to hear it. Mr. Todd's aunt 
has written him a rather rummy letter, 
Jeeves, and we want your adviee." 
" Very good, sir/' 

He stood in the middle of the room, regis- 
tering devotion to the cause, and Reeky 
started again : — 

" My dear Rockmetteller , — / have been think- 
ing things over for a long while, and 1 have come 
to the conclusion that 1 have been very thought* 
less to wait so long before doing what I have 
made up my mind to do now.' 7 

M What do you make of that, 
Jeeves ? " 

" It seems a little obscure at 
present, sir, but no doubt it 
becomes clearer at a I&ter point 
in the communication." 

"It becomes as clear as mud!" 
said Rocky, 

** Prcceed, old scout," I said, 
champing my bread and butter. 
" You know how all my life 
I have longed to visit New York 
and see for myself the wonderful 
gay life of which I have read so 
much, I fear that now it will be 
impossible for me to fulfil my dream. I am 
old and worn guL I seem to heme no strength 
left in me J 7 
" Sad j Jeeves, what ? " 
" Extreme ly, sir." 

" Sad nothing ! " said Rocky. " It's sheer 
laziness. I went to see her last Christmas and 
she was bursting with health. Her doctor 
told me himself that there was nothing wrong 
with her whatever. But she will insist that 
she's a hopeless invalid, so he has to agree 
with her. She's got a fixed idea that I he 
trip to New Yoik would kill her ; so, though 
it's been her arnbiiicn all her life to come 
here, she stays where she is." 

' Rather like the chappie whose heart was 
1 in the Highlands a-cliasing of the deer/ 
Jeeves ? " 

" The cases are in some respects parallel, 
sir." 

" Carry on, Rocky, dear boy." 
" So I have decided that, if 1 cannot enjoy all 
the marvels of the ctty myself ', / can at least enjoy 
them through you. I suddenly thought of this 
yesterday after reading a beautiful poem in the 
Sunday paper about a young man who had 
longed all his life for a certain thing and won 
it in the end only when he was too old to enjoy 
it. It was very sad^ and it touched me." 

11 A thing," interpolated Rocky, bitterly, 
" that I've not been able to do in ten years." 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



120 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



" As you know, you will have my money when 
I am gone; but until now I have never been 
able to see my way to giving you an allowance. 
I have now decided to do so — on one condition. 
I have written to a firm of lawyers in New York, 
giving them instructions to pay you quite a sub- 
stantial sum each month. My one condition 
is that you live in New York and enjoy yourself 
as I have always wished to do. I want you to 
be my representative, to spend this money for 
me as I should do myself. I want *you to plunge 
into the gay, prismatic life of New York. 1 want 
you to be the life and soul of brilliant supper 
parties. 

" Above all, I want you — indeed, I insist 
on this — to write me Utters at least once a week, 
giving me a full description of all you are doing 
and all that is going on in the city, so thai 
I may enjoy at secondhand what my wretched 
health prevents my enjoying for myself. Re- 
member thai I shall expect full details, and that 
no detail is too trivial to interest 

" Your affectionate Aunt, 

" Isabel Rockmcttcller." 

" What about it ?" said Rocky. 

" What about it ? " I said. 

" Yes. What on earth am I going to do ? " 

It was only then that I really got on to the 
extremely rummy attitude of the chappie, in 
view of the fact that a quite unexpected mess 
of the right stuff had suddenly descended on 
him from a blue sky. To my mind it was an 
occasion for the beaming smile and the joyous 
whoop ; yet here the man was, looking and 
talking as it Fate had swung on his solar 
plexus. It amazed me. 

" Aren't you bucked ? " I said. 

" Bucked ! " 

" If I were in your place I should be fright- 
fully braced. I consider this pretty soft for 
you." 

He gave a kind of yelp, stared at me for 
a moment, and then began to talk of New 
York in a way that reminded me of Jimmy 
Mundy, the reformer chappie. Jimmy had 
just come to New York on a hit-the-trail 
campaign, and I had popped in at the Garden 
a couple of days before, for half an hour or so, 
to hear him. He had certainly told New York 
some pretty straight things about itself, 
having apparently taken a dislike to the place, 
but, by Jove, you know, dear old Rocky 
made him look like a publicity agent for the 
old metrop ! 

" Pretty soft ! " he cried. " To have to come 
and live in New York ! To have to leave my 
little cottage and take a stuffy, smelly, over- 
heated hole of an apartment in this Heaven- 
forsaken, festering Gehenna. To have to mix 



night after night with a mob who think that life 
is a sort of St. Vitus's dance, and imagine 
that they're having a good time because 
they're making enough noise for six and 
drinking too much for ten. I loathe New York, 
Bertie. I wouldn't come near the plaoe if 
I hadn't got to see editors occasionally. 
There's a blight on it. It's got moral delirium 
tremens. It's the limit. The very thought of 
staying more than a day in it makes me 
sick. And you call this thing pretty soft 
for me ! " 

I felt rather like Lot's friends must have 
done when they dropped in for a quiet chat 
and their genial host began to criticize the 
Cities of the Plain. I had no idea old Rocky 
could be so eloquent. 

" It would kill me to have to live in New 
York," he went on. " To have to share the 
air with six million people ! To have to wear 
stiff collars and decent clothes all the time ! 

To " He started. " Good Lord ! I suppose 

I should have to dress for dinner in the 
evenings. What a ghastly notion ! " 

I was shocked, absolutely shocked. 

" My dear chap ! " I said, reproachfully. 

" Do you dress for dinner every night, 
Bertie ? " 

" Jeeves," I said, coldly. The man was 
still standing like a statue by the door. " How 
many suits of evening clothes have I ? " 

" We have three suits of full evening dress, 
sir ; two dinner jackets " 

"Three." 

" For practical purposes two only^ir. If 
you remember, we cannot wear the third. 
We have also seven white waistcoats." 

" And shirts ? " 

" Four dozen, sir." 

" And white ties ? " 

" The first two shallow shelves in the chest 
of drawers are completely filled with our 
white ties, sir." 

I turned to Rocky. 

"You see?" 

The chappie writhed like an electric fan. 

" I won't do it ! I can't do it ! I'll be 
hanged if I'll do it ! How on earth can I dress 
up like that ? Do you realize that most days 
I don't get out of my pyjamas till five in the 
afternoon, and then I just put on an old 
sweater ? " 

I saw Jeeves wince, poor chap ! This sort 
of revelation shocked his finest feelings. 

" Then, what are you going to do about 
it ? " I said. 

" That's what I want to know." 

" You might write and explain to your 

University of Michigan 



THE AUNT AND THE SLUGGARD. 



121 



" I might — if I wanted her to get round to 
her lawyer's in two rapid leaps and cut me 
out of her will." 
I saw his point, 

" What do you suggest, Jeeves ? " I said. 
Jeeves cleared his throat respectfully. 
" The crux of the matter would appear to 
be, sir, that Mr. Todd is obliged by the con- 
ditions under which the money is delivered 
into his possession to write Miss Rockmetteller 
long and detailed letters relating to his move- 
ments, and the only method by which this 
can be accomplished, if Mr. Todd adheres 
to his expressed intention of remaining in 
the country, is for Mr. Todd to induce some 
second party to gather the actual experiences 
which Miss Rockmetteller wishes reported 
to her, and to convey these to him in the 
shape of a careful report, on which it would 
be possible for him, with the aid of his 
imagination, to base the suggested corre- 
spondence." 

Having got which off the old diaphragm, 
Jeeves was silent. Rocky looked at me in 
a helpless sort of way. He hasn't been brought 
up on Jeeves as I have, and he isn't on to his 
curves. 

" Could he put it a little clearer, Bertie ? " 
he said. " I thought at the start it was going 
to make sense, but it kind of flickered. What's 
the idea ? " 

" My dear old man, perfectly simple. I knew 
we could stand on Jeeves. All you've got to 
do is to get somebody to go round the town 
for you and take a few notes, and then you 
work the notes up into letters. That's it, 
isn't it, Jeeves ? " 
" Precisely, sir." 

The light of hope gleamed in Rocky's eyes. 
He looked at Jeeves in a startled way, dazed 
by the man's vast intellect. 

" But who would do it ? " he said. " It 
would have to be a pretty smart sort of man, 
a man who would notice things." 
■' Jeeves ! " I said. " Let Jeeves do it." 
" But would he ? " 

" You would do it, wouldn't you, Jeeves ? " 
For the first time in our long connection 
I observed Jeeves almost smile. The corner 
of his mouth curved quite a quarter of an 
inch, and for a moment his eye ceased to 
look like a meditative fish's. 

" I should be delighted to oblige, sir. As 
a matter of fact, I have already visited some 
of New York's places of interest on my evening 
out, and it would be most enjoyable to make 
a practice of the pursuit." 

" Fine ! I know exactly what your aunt 
wants to hear about, Rocky. She wants an 
VoL is.— a 



earful of cabaret stuff. The place you ought 
to go to first, Jeeves, is Reigelheimer's. It's 
on Forty-second Street. Anybody will show 
you the way." 

Jeeves shook his head. 

" Pardon me, sir. People are no longer going 
to Reigelheimer's. The place at the moment 
is Frolics on the Roof." 

" You see ? " I said to Rocky. " Leave 
it to Jeeves. He knows." 

It isn't often that you find an entire group 
of your fellow-humans happy in this world ; 
but our little circle was certainly an example 
of the fact that it can be done. We were 
all full of beans. Everything went abso- 
lutely right from the start. 

Jeeves was happy, partly because he loves 
to exercise his giant brain, and partly because 
he was having a corking time among the 
bright lights. I saw him one night at the 
Midnight Revels. He was sitting at a table 
on the edge of the dancing floor, doing himself 
remarkably well with a fat cigar and a bottle 
of the best. I'd never imagined he could look 
so nearly human. His face wore an expression 
of austere benevolence, and he was making 
notes in a small book. 

As for the rest of us, I was feeling pretty 
good, because I was fond of old Rocky and 
glad to be able to do him a good turn. Rocky 
was perfectly contented, because he was still 
able to sit on fences in his pyjamas and watch 
worms. And, as for the aunt, she seemed 
tickled to death. She was getting Broadway 
at pretty long range, but it seemed to be 
hitting her just right. I read one of her letters 
to Rocky, and it was full of life. 

But then Rocky's letters, based on Jeeves's 
notes, were enough to buck anybody up. It 
was rummy when you came to think of it. 
There was I, loving the life, while the mere 
mention of it gave Rocky a tired feeling ; 
yet here is a letter I wrote home to a pal of 
mine in London : — 

" Dear Freddie, — Well, here I am in New 
York. It's not a bad place. I'm not having a 
bad time. Everything's pretty all right. The 
cabarets aren't bad. Don't know when I shall 
be back. How's everybody ? Cheer-o I — Yours, 
Bertie. 

" P.S.—Seen old Ted lately ? " 

Not that I cared about old Ted ; but if 
I hadn't dragged him in I couldn't have got 
the confounded thing on to the second page. 

Now here's old Rocky on exactly the same 
subject : — 

" Dearest Aunt Isabel. — How can I ever 
thank you enough jor giving me the opportunity 



122 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE, 




*' HE WAS SITTING AT A TABLE ON THE EDGE 
DOING HIMSELF REMARKABLY 

to live in this astounding city f New York 
seems more wonderful every day, 

14 Fifth Avenue is at its best, of course , just 
now. The dresses are magnificent I n 

Wads of stuff about the dresses. I didn't 
know Jeeves was such an authority. 

" 1 was out with some of the crowd cti the 
Midnight Revels the other night. We took in 
a show first, after a little dinner at a new place 
on Forty- third Street. We were quite a gay 
party, Georgie Cohan looked in about midnight 
and got off a good one about Willie Collier. 
Fred Stone could only stay a minute, but Doug. 
Fairbanks did all sorts of stunts and made us 
roar. Diamond Jim Brady was there , as usual, 
and Laurette Taylor showed up with a parly. 
The show at the Revels is quite good, I am 
enclosing a programme. 

"Last night a few of us went round to Frolics 
on the Roof " 

And so on and so forth, yards of it. I sup- 
pose it's the artistic temperament or some- 
thing. What I mean is, it's easier for a chappie 



who's used to 
writing poems 
and that sort of 
tosh to put a bit 
of a punch into 
a letter than -it is 
for a chappie like 
me. Anyway, 
there's no doubt 
that Rooky's 
correspondence 
was hot stuff. I 
called Jeeves in 
and congratu- 
lated him. 

"Jeeves, you're 
a wonder ! " 

ig Thank you, 
sir." 

** H o w you 
notice everything 
at these places 
beats me. I 
couldn't tell you 
a thing about 
them, except 
that I've had a 
good time." 

" It's just a 
knack, sir," 

u W e 1 1, Mr, 
Todd's letters 
ought to brace 
Miss Rockmct- 
teller all right, 
what ? " 
" Undoubtedly, sir," agreed Jeeves. 
And, by Jove, they did ! They certainly 
did 3 by George ! What I mean to say is ? I 
was sitting in the apartment one afternoon, 
about a month after the thing had started, 
smoking a cigarette and resting the oil bean, 
when the door opened and the voice of Jeeves 
burst the silence like a bomb. 

It wasn't that he spoke loud. He has one 
of those soft, soothing voices that slide through 
the atmosphere like the note of a far-off sheep* 
It was what he said that made me leap like 
a young gazelle. 

" Miss Rockmetteller ! " 
And in came a large^ solid female. 
The situation floored me. I'm not denying 
it. Hamlet must have felt much as I did 
when his father's ghost bobbed up in the 
fairway. I'd come to look on Rocky's aunt 
as such a permanency at her own home that 
it didn't seem possible that she could really 
be here in New York. I stared at her. 
Then I looked at Jeeves. He was standing 

IVERSITYOf MtCHIGAN 



OF THE DANCING FLOOR, 
WELL," 



TIIE AUNT AND THE SLUGGARD. 



"3 



there in an attitude of dignified detachment , 
the chump, when, if ever he should have been 
rallying round the young master , it was now. 

Rocky's aunt looked less like an invalid 
than anyone I've ever seen, except my Aunt 
Agatha. She had a good deal of Aunt Agatha 
about her, as a matter of fact. She looked as 
if she might be deuced ly dangerous if put 
upon ; and something seemed to tell me that 
she would certainly regard herself as put upon 
if ever she found out the game which poor old 
Rocky had been 
pulling on her. 

M Good after- 
noon/* I managed to 
say. 

"How do you 
do?" she said, 
u Mr. Cohan ? " 

" Er— no." 

" Mr. Fred 
Stone?" 

" Not absolutely. 
As a matter of fact, 
names Wooster 
—Bertie Wooster." 

She seemed dis- 
appointed* The fine 
old name of Wooster 
appeared to mean 
nothing in her life. 

" Isn't Rockmet- 
tcller home ? " she 
said. "Where is 
he?" 

She had me with 
the first shot. I 
couldn't think of 
anything to s a f . 
I couldn't tell her 
that Rocky was 
down in the country, 
watching worms. 

There was the 
faintest flutter of 
sound in the back- 
ground* It was the 
respectful cough 
with which Jeeves 
announces that he is 
about to speak with- 
out having been 
>poken to. 

"If you remember , sir, Mr, Todd went out 
in the automobile with a party earlier in the 
afternoon." 

"So he did, Jeeves ; so he did," I said, 
looking at my watch. " Did he say when he 
would be back ? " 




ROC K METTELLE R 



11 He gave me to understand, sir, that he 
would be somewhat late in returning." 

He vanished ; and the aunt took the chair 
which Fd forgotten to offer her. She looked 
at me in rather a rummy way. It was a nasty 
look. It made me feel as if I were something 
the dog had brought in and intended to bury 
later on, when he had lime. My own Aunt 
Agatha, back in England, has looked at me 
in exactly the same way many a time, and it 
never fails to make my spine curl, 

M You see not very 
much at home here, 
young man. Are 
you a great friend 
of Rockmet- 
teller's ? " 
"Oh,yes, rather!" 
She frowned as if 
she had expected 
better things of old 
Rocky. 

li Well , you need 
to be/' she said, 
l ' the way you treat 
his flat as your 
own ! " 

1 give you my 
word, this quite un- 
foreseen slam simply 
robbed me of the 
power of speech. Td 
been looking on 
myself in the light 
of the dashing host, 
and suddenly to be 
treated as an in- 
truder jarred me, It 
wasn't, mark you, 
as if she had spoken 
in a way to suggest 
that she considered 
my presence in the 
place as an ordinary 
social call. She 
obviously looked on 
me as a cross be- 
tween a burglar and 
the plumber's man 
come to fix the leak 
in the bathroom. It 
hurt her — my being 
there. 
At this juncture, with the conversation 
showing every sign of being about to die in 
awful agonies, an idea came to me. Tea — 
the good old stand-by. 

11 Would you care for a cup of tea ? S1 I 

:a OrigmaTTrom 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



said. 



124 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



" Tea ? " 

She spoke as if she had never heard of the 
stuff. 

" Nothing like a cup after a journey/' I 
said. " Bucks you up ! Puts a bit of zip 
into you. What I mean is, restores you, and 
so on, don't you know. I'll go and tell 
Jeeves." 

I tottered down the passage to Jeeves' lair. 
The man was reading the evening paper as if 
he hadn't a care in the world. 

" Jeeves," I said, " we want some tea." 

" Very good, sir." 

" I say, Jeeves, this is a bit thick, 
what ? " 

I wanted sympathy, don't you know — 
sympathy and kindness. The old nerve 
centres had had the deuce of a shock. 

" She's got the idea this place belongs to 
Mr. Todd. What on earth put that into her 
head ? " 

Jeeves filled the kettle with a restrained 
dignity. 

" No doubt because of Mr. Todd's letters, 
sir," he said. " It was my suggestion, sir, if 
you remember, that they should be addressed 
from this apartment in order that Mr. Todd 
should appear to possess a good central resi- 
dence in the city." 

I remembered. We had thought it a brainy 
scheme at the time. 

" Well, it's bally awkward, you know, 
Jeeves. She looks on me as an intruder. By 
Jove ! I suppose she thinks I'm someone 
who hangs about here, touching Mr. Todd for 
free meals and borrowing his shirts." 

" Yes, sir." 

II It's pretty rotten, you know." 
" Most disturbing, sir." 

" And there's another thing : What are we 
to do about Mr. Todd ? We've got to get 
him up here as soon as ever we can. When 
you have brought the tea you had better go 
out and send him a telegram, telling him to 
come up by the next train." 

" I have already done so, sir. I took the 
liberty of writing the message and dispatching 
it by the lift attendant." 

" By Jove, you think of everything, 
Jeeves ! " 

" Thank you, sir. A little buttered toast 
with the tea ? Just so, sir. Thank you." 

I went back to the sitting-room. She 
hadn't moved an inch. She was still bolt 
upright on the edge of her chair, gripping her 
umbrella like a hammer-thrower. She gave 
me another of those looks as I came in. 
There was no doubt about it ; for some reason 
she had taken a dislike to me. I suppose 



because I wasn't George M. Cohan. It was 
a bit hard on a chap. 

" This is a surprise, what ? " I said, after 
about five minutes' restful silence, trying to ' 
crank the conversation up again. 

" What is a surprise ? " 

" Your coming here, don't you know, and 
so on." 

She raised her eyebrows and drank me in 
a bit more through her glasses. 

" Why is it surprising that I should visit 
my only nephew ? " she said. 

Put like that, of course, it did seem reason- 
able. 

" Oh, rather," I said. " Of course ! 
Certainly. What I mean is " 

Jeeves projected himself into the room with 
the tea. I was jolly glad to see him. There's 
nothing like having a bit of business arranged 
for one when one isn't certain of one's lines. 
With the teapot to fool about with I felt 
happier, 

" Tea, tea, tea— what ? What ? " I said. 

It wasn't what I had meant to say. My 
idea had been to be a good deal more formal, 
and so on. Still, it covered the situation. I 
poured her out a cup. She sipped it and put 
the cup down with a shudder. 

" Do you mean to say, young man," she 
said, frostily, " that you expect me to drink 
this stuff ? " 

41 Rather ! Bucks you up, you know." 

" What do you mean by the expression 
' Bucks you up ' ? " 

" Well, makes you full of beans, you know. 
Makes you fizz." 

" I don't understand a word you say. 
You're English, aren't you ? " 

I admitted it. She didn't say a word. 
And somehow she did it in a way that made 
it worse than if she had spoken for hours. 
Somehow it was brought home to me that she 
didn't like Englishmen, and that if she had 
had to meet an Englishman I was the one 
she'd have chosen last. 

Conversation languished again after that. 

Then I tried again. I was becoming more 
convinced every moment that you can't make 
a real lively salon with a couple of people, 
especially if one of them lets it go a word at 
a time. 

" Are you comfortable at your hotel ? " I 
said. 

" At which hotel ? " 

" The hotel you're staying at." 

" I am not staying at an hotel." 

" Stopping with friends — what ? " 

" I am naturally stopping with my 
nephew." 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE AUNT AND THE SLUGGARD. 



"5 



I didn't get it for the moment ; then hit it 
me. 

"What! Here?" I gurgled. 

" Certainly ! Where else should I go ? " 

The full horror of the situation rolled over 
me like a wave. I couldn't see what on earth 
I was to do. I couldn't explain that this 
wasn't Rocky 's flat without giving the poor 
old chap away hopelessly, because she would 
then ask me where he did live, and then he 
would be right in the soup. I was trying to 
induce the old bean to recover from the shock 
and produce some results when she spoke 
again. 

" Will you kindly tell my nephew's man- 
servant to prepare my room ? I wish to lie 
down." 

" Your nephew's man-servant ? " 

" The man you call Jeeves. If Rock- 
metteller has gone for an automobile ride 
there is no need for you to wait for him. He 
will naturally wish to be alone with me when 
he returns." 

I found myself tottering out of the room. 
The thing was too much for me. I crept into 
Jeeves' s den. 

" Jeeves ! " I whispered. 

" Sir ? " 

" Mix me a b.-and-s., Jeeves. I feel weak." 

" Very good, sir." 

" This is getting thicker every minute, 
Jeeves." 

" Sir ? " 

" She thinks you're Mr. Todd's man. She 
thinks the whole place is his, and everything 
in it. I don't see what you're to do, except 
stay on and keep it up. We can't say any- 
thing or she'll get on to the whole thing, and 
I don't want to let Mr. Todd down. By the 
way, Jeeves, she wants you to prepare her 
bed." 

He looked wounded. 

" It is hardly my place, sir " 

" I know — I know. But do it as a personal 
favour to me. If you come to that, it's 
hardly my place to be flung out of the flat 
like this and have to go to an hotel, 
what ? " 

" Is it your intention to go to an hotel, sir ? 
What will you do for clothes ? " 

" Good Lord ! I hadn't thought of that. 
Can you put a few things in a bag when she 
isn't looking, and sneak them down to me at 
the St. Aurea ? " 

" I will endeavour to do so, sir." 

"Well, I don't think there's anything 
more, is there ? Tell Mr. Todd where I am 
when he gets here." 

" Very good, sir." 



I looked round the place. The moment of 
parting had come. I felt sad. The whole 
thing reminded me of one of those melo- 
dramas where they drive chappies out of the 
old homestead into the snow. 

" Good-bye, Jeeves," I said. 

" Good-bye, sir." 

And I staggered out. 

You know, I rather think I agree with 
those poet-and-philosopher Johnnies who 
insist that a fellow ought to be devilish 
pleased if he has a bit of trouble. All that 
stuff about being refined by suffering, you 
know. Suffering does give a chap a sort of 
broader and more sympathetic outlook. It 
helps you to understand other people's mis- 
fortunes if you've been through the same 
thing yourself. 

As I stood in my lonely bedroom at the 
hotel, trying to tie my white tie myself, it 
struck me for the first time that there must 
be whole squads of chappies in the world who 
had to get along without a man to look after 
them. I'd always thought of Jeeves as a 
kind of natural phenomenon ; but, by Jove ! 
of course, when you come to think of it, there 
must be quite a lot of fellows who have to 
press their own clothes themselves, and 
haven't got anybody to bring them tea in 
the morning, and so on. It was rather a 
solemn thought, don't you know. I mean to 
say, ever since then I've been able to appre- 
ciate the frightful privations the poor have 
-to stick. 

I got dressed somehow. Jeeves hadn't for- 
gotten a thing in his packing. Everything 
was there, down to the final stud. I'm not 
sure this didn't make me feel worse. It kind 
of deepened the pathos. It was like what 
somebody or other wrote about the touch of 
a vanished hand. 

I had a bit of dinner somewhere and went 
to a show of some kind ; but nothing seemed 
to make any difference. I simply hadn't the 
heart to go on to supper anywhere. I just 
sucked down a whisky-and-soda in the hotel 
smoking-room and went straight up to bed. 
I don't know when I've felt so rotten. Some- 
how I found myself moving about the room 
softly, as if there had been a death in the 
family. If I had had anybody to talk to 
I should have talked in a whisper ; in fact, 
when the telephone-bell rang I answered in 
such a sad, hushed voice that the fellow at 
the other end of the wire said " Halloa ! " 
five times, thinking he hadn't got me. 

It was Rocky. The poor old scout was 
deeply agitated. 

ERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



126 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



" Bertie ! Is that you, Bertie ? Oh, gosh ! 
I'm having a time ! " 

" Where are you speaking from ? " 

" The Midnight Revels. We've been here 
an hour, and I think we're a fixture for the 
night. I've told Aunt Isabel I've gone out 
to call up a friend to join us. She's glued to 
a chair, with this-is-the-life written all over 
her, taking it in through the pores. She 
loves it, and I'm nearly crazy." 

u Tell me all, old top," I said. 

" A little more of this," he said, " and I 
shall sneak quietly off to the river and end 
it all. Do you mean to say you go through 
this sort of thing every night, Bertie, and 
enjoy it ? It's simply infernal ! I was just 
snatching a wink of sleep behind the bill of 
fare just now when about a million yelling 
girls swooped down, with toy balloons. 
There are two orchestras here, each trying 
to see if it can't play louder than the other. 
I'm a mental and physical wreck. When 
your telegram arrived I was just lying down 
for a quiet pipe, with a sense of absolute 
peace stealing over me. I had to get dressed 
and sprint two miles to catch the train. It 
nearly gave me heart-failure ; and on top of 
that I almost got brain fever inventing lies 
to tell Aunt Isabel. And then I had to cram 
myself into these confounded evening clothes 
of yours." 

I gave a sharp wail of agony. It hadn't 
struck me till then that Rocky was depending 
on my wardrobe to see him through. 

" You'll ruin them ! " 

" I hope so," said Rocky, in the most 
unpleasant way. His troubles seemed to 
have had the worst effect on his character. 
" I should like to get back at them some- 
how ; they've given me a bad enough time. 
They're about three sizes too small, and 
something's apt to give at any moment. 
I wish to goodness it would, and give me a 
chance to breathe. I haven't m breathed 
since half-past seven. Thank Heaven, Jeeves 
managed to get out and buy me a collar 
that fitted, or I should be a strangled" corpse 
by now ! It was touch and go till the 
stud broke. Bertie, this is pure Hades ! 
Aunt Isabel keeps on urging me to dance. 
How on earth can I dance when I don't 
know a soul to dance with ? And how the 
deuce could I, even if I knew every girl in 
the place ? It's taking big chances even to 
move in these trousers. I had to tell her 
I've hurt my ankle. She keeps asking me 
when Cohan and Stone are going to turn 
up ; and it's simply a question of time before 
she discovers that Stone is sitting two tables 



away. Something's got to be done, Bertie ; 
You've got to think up some way of getting 
me out of this mess. It was you who got 
me into it." 

" Me ! What do you mean ? " 

" Well, Jeeves, then. It's all the same. 
It was you who suggested leaving it to 
Jeeves. It was those letters I wrote from 
his notes that did the mischief. I made 
them too good ! My aunt's just been telling 
me about it. She says she had resigned 
herself to ending her life where she was, and 
then my letters began to arrive, describing 
the joys of New York ; and they stimulated 
her to such an extent that she pulled herself 
together and made the trip. She seems to 
think she's had some miraculous kind of 
faith cure. I tell you I can't stand it, 
Bertie ! It's got to end ! " 

" Can't Jeeves think of anything ? " 

" No. He just hangs round, saying : 
' Most disturbing, sir ! ' A fat lot of help 
that is 1 " 

" Well, old lad," I said, " after all, it's 
far worse for me than it is for you. You've 
got a comfortable home and Jeeves. And 
you're saving a lot of money." 

" Saving money ? What do you mean — 
saving money ? " 

" Why, the allowance your aunt was giving 
you. I suppose she's paying all the expenses 
now, isn't she ? " 

" Certainly she is ; but she's stopped the 
allowance. She wrote the lawyers to-night. 
She says that, now she's in New York, 
there is no necessity for it to go on, as we 
shall always be together, and it's simpler for 
her to look after that end of it. I tell you, 
Bertie, I've examined the darned cloud with 
a microscope, and if it's got a silver lining 
it's some little dissembler ! " 

" But, Rocky, old top, it's too bally 
awful ! You've no notion of what I'm going 
through in this beastly hotel, without Jeeves. 
I must get back to the flat." 

" Don't come near the flat I " 

" But it's my own flat." 

" I can't help that. Aunt Isabel doesn't 
like you. She asked me what you did 
for a living. And when I told her you 
didn't do anything she said she thought as 
much, and that you were a typical specimen 
of a useless and decaying aristocracy. So 
if you think you have made a hit, forget it. 
Now I must be going back, or she'll be coming 
out here after me. Good-bye." 

Next morning Jeeves came round. It 
was all so home-like when he floated noise- 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE AliNT AND THE SLUGGARD. 



127 



lessly into the room that I nearly broke 
down. 

" Good morning, sir," he said. " I have 
brought a few more of your personal 
belongings." 

He began to unstrap the suit-case he was 
carrying. 

" Did you have any trouble sneaking 
them away ? " 

" It was not easy, sir. I had to watch my 
chance. Miss Rockmetteller is a remarkably 
alert lady." 

" You know, Jeeves, say what you like — 
this is a bit thick, isn't it ? " 

" The situation is certainly one that has 
never before come under my notice, sir. 
I have brought the heather-mixture suit, as 
the climatic conditions are congenial. To- 
morrow, if not prevented, I will endeavour 
to add the brown lounge with the faint 
green twill." 

" It can't go on — this sort of thing — 
Jeeves." 

" We must hope for the best, sir." 

" Can't you think of anything to do ? " 

u I have been giving the matter consider- 
able thought, sir, but so far without success. 
I am placing three silk shirts — the dove- 
coloured, the light blue, and the mauve — 
in the first long drawer, sir." 

" You don't mean to say you can't think 
of anything, Jeeves ? " 

" For the moment, sir, no. You will find 
a dozen handkerchiefs and the tan socks in 
the upper drawer on the left." He strapped 
the suit-case and put it on a chair. " A 
curious lady, Miss Rockmetteller, sir." 

" You understate it, Jeeves." 

He gazed meditatively out of the window. 

" In many ways, sir, Miss Rockmetteller 
reminds me of an aunt of mine who resides 
in the south-east portion of London. Their 
temperaments are much alike. My aunt has 
the same taste for the pleasures of the great 
city. It is a passion with her to ride in hansom 
cabs, sir. Whenever the family take their 
eyes off her she escapes from the house and 
spends the day riding, about in cabs. On 
several occasions she has broken into the 
children's savings bank to secure the means 
to enable her to gratify this desire." 

" I love to have these little chats with you 
about your female relatives, Jeeves," I said, 
coldly, for I felt that the man had let me 
down, and I was fed up with him. " But 
I don't see what all this has got to do with 
my trouble." 

" I beg your pardon, sir. I am leaving 
a small assortment of our neckties on the 



mantelpiece, sir, for you to select according 
to your preference. I should recommend the 
blue with the red domino pattern, sir." 

Then he streamed imperceptibly toward the 
door and flowed silently out. 

I've often heard that chappies, after some 
great shock or loss, have a habit, after they've 
been on the floor for a while wondering what 
hit them, of picking themselves up and 
piecing themselves together, and sort of 
taking a whirl at beginning a new life. Time, 
the great healer, and Nature, adjusting itself, 
and so on and so forth. There's a lot in it. 
I know, because in my own case, after a day 
or two of what you might call prostration, 
I began to recover. The frightful loss of 
Jeeves made any thought of pleasure more or 
less of a mockery, but at least I found that 
I was able to have a dash at enjoying life 
again. What I mean is, I braced up to the 
extent of going round the cabarets once more, 
so as to try to forget, if only for the moment. 

New York's a small place when it comes 
to the part of it that wakes up just as the 
rest is going to bed, and it wasn't long 
before my tracks began to cross old Rocky's. 
I saw him once at Peale's, and again at 
Frolics on the Roof. There wasn't anybody 
with him either time except the aunt, and, 
though he was trying to look as if he had 
struck the ideal life, it wasn't difficult for 
me, knowing the circumstances, to see that 
beneath the mask the poor chap was suffering. 
My heart bled for the fellow. At least, 
what there was of it that wasn't bleeding 
for myself bled for him. He had the air 
of one who was about to crack under the 
strain. 

It seemed to me that the aunt was looking 
slightly upset also. I took it that she was 
beginning to wonder when the celebrities 
were going to surge round, and what had 
suddenly become of all those wild, careless 
spirits Rocky used to mix with in his letters. 
I didn't blame her. I had only read a couple 
of his letters, but they certainly gave the 
impression that poor old Rocky was by way 
of being the hub of New York night life, and 
that, if by any chance he failed to show up 
at a cabaret, the management said, " What's 
the use ? " and put up the shutters. 

The next two nights I didn't come across 
them, but the night after that I was sitting 
by myself at the Maison Pierre when some- 
body, tapped me on the shoulder-blade, and 
I found Rocky standing beside me, with a 
sort of mixed expression of wistfulness and 
apoplexy on his face. How the chappie had 

FF UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN vv 



128 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 




U l FOUND ROCKY STANDING BESH>E ME, WITH A 5QHT OF 
MIXED EXPRESSION OF WISTFULKESS AND APOPLEXY ON HIS 

■ FACE." 



contrived to wear my evening clothes so 
many times without disaster was a mystery 
to me. He confided later that early in the 
proceedings he had slit the waistcoat up the 
back and that that had helped a bit. 

For a moment I had the idea that he had 
managed to get away from his aunt for the 
evening ; but, looking past him> I saw that 
she was in again. She was at a table over 
by the wall, looking at me as if I were some- 
thing the management ought to be complained 
to about. 

" Bertie , old scout ," said Rocky , in a 
quiet, sort of crushed voice, ct we've always 
been pals, haven't we ? I mean, you know 
I'd do you a good turn if you asked me." 

** My dear old lad/* I said* The man had 
moved me, 

" Then, for Heaven's sake, come over and 
sit at our table for the rest of the evening." 

Well, you know, there are limits to the 
sacred claims of friendship. 

" My dear chap/' I said, " you know I'd 
do anything in reason ; but ri 

M You must come, Bertie. You've got to. 
Something's got to be done to divert her mind. 



She's brooding about 
something. She's been 
like that for the last two 
days. I think she's be- 
ginning to suspect. She 
can't understand why we 
never seem to meet any- 
one I know at these 
joints, A few nights ago 
I happened to run into 
two newspaper men I used 
to know fairly w T ell That 
kept me going for a while. 
I introduced them to Aunt 
Isabel as David Btlasco 
and Jim Corbett, and it 
went well- But the effect 
has worn off now, and 
she's beginning to wonder 
again. Something's got to 
be done, or she will find 
out everything., and if she 
does I'd take a nickel for 
my chance of getting a 
cent from her later on. 
SOj for the love of Mike, 
come across to our table 
and help things along," 

I went along. One has 
to rally round a pal in 
distress. Aunt Isabel was 
sitting bolt upright, as 
usual. It certainly did 
seem as if she had lost a bit of the test 
with which she had started out to explore 
Broadway, She looked as if she had been 
thinking a good deal about rather unpleasant 
things. 

■ " YouVe met Bertie Wooster, Aunt Isa- 
bel?" said Rockv. 
" I have/' 

There was something in her eye that 
seemed to say ; — 

" Out of a city of six million people, why 
did you pick on me ? " 

(i Take a seat, Bertie. What'll you have ? IJ 
said Rocky. 

And so the mewy party began. It was 
one of those jolly., happy, bread -crumbling 
parties where you cough twice before you 
speak, and then decide not to say it after all. 
After we had had an hour of this wild dis- 
sipation, Aunt Isabel said she wanted to go 
home. In the light of what Rocky had been 
telling me, this struck me as sinister. I had 
gathered that at the beginning of her visit 
she had had to be dragged home with ropes. 

It must have hit Rocky the same way, fo* 
he gave mt a pleading look. 



THE AUNT AND THE SLUGGARD, 



129 



''You'll come along, won't you, Bertie, 
and have a drink at the flat ? " 

I had a feeling that this wasn't in the 
contract, but there wasn't anything to be 
done, It seemed brutal to leave the poor 
chap alone with the woman, so I went 
along. 

Right from the start, from the moment 
we stepped into the taxi, the feeling began 
to grow that something was about to break 
loose, A massive silence prevailed in the 
corner whpre the aunt sat, and, though Rocky, 
balancing himself on the little seat in front, 
did his best to supply dialogue, we weren't 
a chatty party ■ 

I had a glimpse of Jeeves as we went into 
the flat, sitting in his lair, and I wished I 
:ould have called to him to rally round, 
Something told me that I was about to need 
him. 

The stuff was on the table in the sitting- 
room- Rocky took up the 
decanter. 

Ai Say when, Bertie/ 1 

"Stop!" barked the 
aunt, and he dropped it, 

I caught Rocky' s eye 
as he stooped to pick up 
the ruins. It was the 
eye of one who sees it 
coming, 

l< Leave it there, Rock- 
metteller ! 7> said Aunt 
Isabel ; and Rocky left 
it there, 

il The time has come to 
speak," she said, " I can- 
not stand idly by and see 
a young man going to 
perdition ! " 

Poor old Rocky gave 
a sort of gurgle, a kind 
of sound rather like the 
whisky had made running 
out of the decanter on to 
ttiv carpet. 

" Eh ? n he said, 
blinking. 

The aunt proceeded. 

u The fault," she said, 
"was mine. I had not 
then seen the light. But 
now my eyes are open. 
I see the hideous mistake 
I have made, I shudder at 
the thought of the wrong 
1 did you, Rockmetteller, 
bv urging you into contact 
with this wicked city." . 1.-*Kstof ! ' 



I saw Rocky grope feebly for the table. 
His fingers touched it, and a look of relief 
came into the poor chappie's face, I under- 
stood his feelings. 

4i But when I wrote you that letter, Rock- 
metteller, instructing you to go to the city 
and live its life, I had not had the privilege 
of hearing Mr, Mundy speak on the subject 
of New York." 

41 Jimmy Mundy ! " I cried. 

You know how it is sometimes when every- 
thing seems all mixed up and you suddenly 
get a clue. When she mentioned Jimmy 
Mundy I began to understand more or less 
what had happened, I'd seen it happen 
before. I remember, back in England, the 
man I had before Jeeves sneaked off to a 
meeting on his evening out and came balk 
and denounced me in front of a crowd of 
chappies I was giving a bit of supper to 
as a moral leper. 




BARKED tH 



Original from 



I3<5 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



The aunt gave me a withering up and 
down, 

" Yes ; Jimmy Mundy ! " she said, " I 
am surprised at a man of your stamp having 
heard of him, There is no music* there are 
no drunken, dancing men, no shameless, 
flaunting women at his meetings ; so for 
you they would have no attraction. But 
for others, less dead in sin, he has his 
message. He has come to save New 
York from itself ; to farce it — in his 
picturesque phrase— to hit the trail- It 
was three days ago, Rockmettcller, 
that I first heard him. It was an acci- 
dent that took me to his meeting. How 
often in this life a mere accident may 
shape our whole future ! 

H You had been called away by that 
telephone message from Mr. Belasco ; 
so you could not take me to the 
Hippodrome, as we had arranged* I 
asked your man -servant Jeeves, to 
take me there. The man has very little 
intelligence* He seems to have mis- 
understood me. I am thankful that he 
did. He took me to what I subse- 
quently learned was Madison Square 
Garden , where Mr. Mundy is holding 
his meetings. He escorted me to a seat 
and then left me. And it was not till 
the meeting had begun that I dis- 
covered the mistake which had been 
made. My seat was in the middle of 
a row* I could not leave without 
inconveniencing a great many people, 
so I remained." 

She gulped. 

" Rockmetteller, I have never been 
so thankful for anything else. Mr, 
Mundy was wonderful ! He was like 
some prophet of old, scourging the sins 
of the people. He leaped about in a 
frenzy of mspiration till I feared he 
would do himself an injury. Some- 
times he expressed himself in a somewhat 
odd manner, but every word carried con- 
viction. He showed me New York in its 
true colours. He showed me the vanity and 
wickedness of sitting in gilded haunts of vice, 
eating lobster when decent people should be 
in bed* 

At He said that the tango and the fox-trot 
were devices of the devil to drag people down 
into the Bottomless Pit. He said that there 
was more sin in ten minutes with a negro 
banjo orchestra than in all the ancient revels 
of Nineveh and Babylon. And when he 
stood on one leg and pointed right at where I 
was sitting and shouted * This means you ! } 



I could have sunk through the floor, I 
came away a changed woman. Surely you 
must have noticed the change in me, Rock- 
metteller ? You must have seen that I was 
no longer the careless, thoughtless person 
who had urged you to dance in those places 
of wickedness ? " 




Rocky was holding on to the table as if it 
was his only friend. 

" Y-yes," he stammered ; " I — I thought 
something was wrong.'* 

11 Wrong ? Something was right ! Every- 
thing was right 1 Rockmet teller, it is not 
too late for you to be saved. You have only 
sipped of the evil cup. You have not drained 
it. It will be hard at first, but you will find 
that you can do it if you fight with a stout 
heart against the glamour and fascination of 



THE AUNT AND THE SLUGGARD. 



*5* 



try, Rockmetteller ? Won't you go back 
to the country to-morrow and begin the 
struggle? Little by little, if you use your 
will—" 

I can't help thinking it must have been that 
word (( will ' J that roused dear old Rocky like 
a trumpet cali It must have brought home 
to him the realization that a miracle had 
come off and saved him from being cut out 
of Aunt Isabel's. At any rate, as she said 
it he perked up, let go of the table, and faced 
her with gleaming eyes* 

l( Do you want me to go back to the 
country, Aunt Isabel ? '* 

" Yes," 

u Not to live in the country ? " 

" Yes, Rockmetteller/ 1 

" Stay in the country all the time, do you 
mean ? Never come to New York ? " 

" Yes, Rockmetteller ; I mean just that. 
It is the only way* Only there can you 
be safe from temptation. Will you do 




hJ HE POIOTED RIGHT AT WHEHE I WAS SETTING, 
AND SHOUTED ' THIS MEANS YOU E * ** 



it, Rockmetteller ? Will vou — for mv 
sake ? '* 

Rocky grabbed the table again. He 
seemed to draw a lot of encouragement from 
that table. 



" I will ! " he said, 

41 Jeeves," I said. It was next day, and I 
was back in the old flat, lying in the old arm- 
chair, with my feet upon the good old table. 
I had just come from seeing dear old 
Rocky off to his country cottage, and an hour 
before he had seen his aunt off to whatever 
hamlet it was that she was the curse of ; 
so we were alone at last* " Jeeves, there's 
no place like home — what ? " 

" Very true, sir. 5 ' 

" The jolly old roof-tree, and all that sort 
of thing — what ? " 

" Precisely, sir." 

I lit another cigarette, 

" Jeeves." 
u S ; r ? », 

" Do you know, at one point in the business 
I really thought you were baffled/' 

m Indeed, sir ? " 

" When did you get the idea of taking 
Miss Rockmetteller to the meeting ? It 
was pure genius ! " 

M Thank you, sir. It came to me a little 
suddenly, one morning when I was thinking 
of my aunt, sir." 

i£ Your aunt ? The hansom cab one ? w 

" Yes, sir. I recollected that, whenever 
we observed one of her attacks coming on, 
we used to send for the clergyman of the 
parish. We always found that if he talked 
to her a while of higher things it diverted 
her mind from hansom cabs. It occurred to 
me that the same treatment might prove 
efficacious in the case of Miss Rockmet- 
teller." 

I was stunned by the man's resource. 

** It's brain," I said ; " pure brain ! What 
do you do to get like that, Jeeves ? I 
believe you must eat a lot of fish, or some- 
thing. Do you eat a lot of fish, Jeeves ? " 

" No, sir." 

II Oh, well, then, it's just a gift, I take it; 
and if you aren't born that way there's no 
use worrying." 

" Precisely, sir," said Jeeves, " If I might 
make the suggestion, sir, I should not con- 
tinue to wear your present tie. The green 
shade gives you a slightly bilious air, I 
should strongly advocate the blue with the 
red domino pattern instead, sir." 

" All right, Jeeves/ 1 I said, humbly. 
" You know ! " 



by Google 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




THE 



THE MUSIC 

OF 

RESTAURANT. 



By HUGH ARTHUR SCOTT. 

Illustrated by H< M« Bateman. 




HO invented restaurant music ? 
When and by whom was it 
first provided in London ? 
Music with meals in itself 
is, of course, a custom of 
very old standing, Without 
going back to the days of 
Isaiah, who complained of the Jews that " the 
harp and the viol and the tabret are in their 
f casts/ 7 or of Nebuchadnezzar and other 
Biblical worthies , it may be recalled that in 
England from the earliest times, and else- 
where throughout Europe, the minstrel at 
the feast was one of the most firmly-estab- 
lished institutions, as innumerable records 
testify, Chaucer, in " The Merchant's Tale," 
gives a vivid account of the music provided 
at a wedding banquet, and countless other 
passages could be cited from the ancient 
records in illustration of the fact, 01 Queen 
Elizabeth — to pass from Chaucer's day to 
Shakespeare's— we are told that when she 
dined she was M regaled with twelve trumpets 
and two kettle-drums, which, together with 
fifes, cornets, and side-drums, made the hall 
ring for half an hour together," 



In modern times the composition of the 
band would be somewhat different, but now, 
as then, music in some form or other is 
regarded as an indispensable ingredient of 
any banquet with any pretensions to com- 
pleteness. Even at purely private dinner- 
parties of the present day given by people 
of wealth and rank a band is more often 
than not engaged to perform during the 
meal. 

Music on such occasions as these, however, 
differs from the provision of music for the 
benefit of the patrons of hotels and restau- 
rants, and to trace the origin of this practice 
it is not needful to go back nearly so far. 
It was, indeed, little more than half a century 
ago that music was first supplied in this way 
in London, by the brothers A, and S. Gatti. 

When, in 1862, the business was transferred 
from Villiers Street to larger premises in the 
Strand , it was naturally proposed to continue 
a feature which had already proved its worth. 
But this time an unexpected obstacle was 
encountered in the person of the vicar of 
St. Martin's-in-the-Fields hard by, who was 

h «-MMte/ "•■ cati " g 



THE MUSIC OF THE RESTAURANT. 



133 



chops and chips to the accompaniment of 
overtures and waltzes, and who protested to 
such purpose that in the end the necessary 
licence was withdrawn. On what precise 
grounds the vicar based his objections I do 
not know, but it certainly serves to illustrate 
the change of opinion which has since taken 
place on the subject that his arguments were 
not only listened to, but actually prevailed — 
for a time at least. Obviously, however, 
such an indefensible restriction was not one 
to be permanently maintained, and so, when 
some years later (1874) the Holborn Res- 
taurant was opened with music as one of its 
leading attractions, there seems to have 
been no more thought of opposition, and 
the Heavenly Maid was thenceforward given 
the freedom of all hotels and restaurants of 
the town. 

At the Holborn, which, by the way, had 
been previously the Holborn Casino, where 
dances in the winter months alternated with 
baths in the summer, the musical arrange- 
ments were on a considerable scale from the 
beginning — the orchestra engaged numbering 
some sixteen players, and being decidedly 
larger, therefore, than the majority of those 
employed in even the most important 
restaurants at the present time. The inno- 
vation found such immediate favour, how- 
ever, that the directors saw no occasion 
whatever to regret their enterprise. 

As regards other establishments which 
led the way in this matter, one of the earliest 
to follow the Holborn's example was the old 
St. James's in Piccadilly — the famous 
" Jimmy's/' so beloved by the gilded youth 
of the period — which, it will be remembered, 
formed part of the same building as the old 
St. James's Hall, the most famous of London's 
concert rooms, the site of which is to-day 
occupied by the palatial Piccadilly Hotel. 
Here, too, the celebrated Moore and Burgess 
Minstrels had their headquarters at this 
period, so that with the concert room above, 
the minstrels below, and the restaurant with 
its orchestra hard by, there was certainly no 
lack dl music in this quarter in those days. 
And it may be said that the tradition is to 
some extent still maintained, seeing that the 
band of the present Piccadilly Restaurant, 
under Mr. De Groot, is recognized as one of 
the best in London. 

Then, later, came the Krasnapolsky, in 
Oxford Street, which is known to-day as 
Frascati's, while in a different category the 
Savoy was another establishment which was 
famous from the first for the completeness 
of its musical arrangements. Since then the 



custom has developed to a truly amazing 
extent, so that to-day there is hardly a tea- 
shop even with any pretensions which is 
not provided with its ladies' orchestra, 
while as for hotels and restaurants, the total 
amount expended by these establishments 
under this head nowadays must be some- 
thing astonishing. 

Take as one case only that of Messrs. 
Lyons and Co., who have kindly supplied 
some exact information on the subject for 
the purpose of this article. They have in 
their various London establishments alone 
over a dozen different orchestras, while their 
total expenditure on music amounts to 
upwards of forty thousand pounds a year/ 
So far have we advanced from the time when 
music was regarded by restaurant proprietors 
as a negligible quantity, if not an unnecessary 
evil. Messrs. Lyons have been pioneers in 
this matter, not only in respect of the lavish- 
ness of their outlay, but also in respect of the 
quality of the music provided. Thus they 
have led the way in engaging artists of the 
very first distinction to appear for them — 
and they are careful to point out that, so far 
from giving such artists less than their usual 
concert fees, they generally find it necessary 
to pay them a good deal more in order to 
overcome any lingering prejudices which 
still exist in musical circles in respect of 
such engagements. Yet when vocalists of 
the repute of Mr. Walter Hyde, Mr. Thorpe 
Bates, and the like have not thought it 
beneath their dignity to sing while their 
listeners sup, others certainly need not 
hesitate to follow. Indeed, signs are not 
wanting that the profession at large is 
beginning at length to realize what an 
important addition to their field of operations 
is to be found nowadays in this direction. 
Certainly the number of purely musical 
organizations in existence expending as 
much as forty thousand pounds a year on 
the payment of artists is not very large, 
wherefore the day has gone by for even the 
most eminent performers to affect indifference 
or " superiority " to such a valuable addition 
to their possible sources of income. 

Perhaps the most distinguished artist who 
has up to the present accepted a permanent 
daily engagement in work of this class is 
Mr. Zacharewitsch, the famous violinist, who 
has been acting for some twelve months now 
as chef d'orchestre and soloist at the Regent 
Palace Hotel, Piccadilly Circus, at a salary 
which it is no secret runs well into four figures. 
And Mr. Zacharewitsch declares that, apart 
from the handsome salary attached to the 



*34 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



position, he thoroughly enjoys the work. 
At first, it is true, he found it a little trying 
to play under such conditions after the 
stillness and attention to which he was 
accustomed in the concert room, and on 
more than one occasion, he confesses, he was 
moved to take rather strong measures to 
compel a proper amount of attention and 
respect. He recalls, indeed, in this con- 
nection the remark of one non-musical guest 
which was afterwards brought back to him : 
" Good heavens ! this chap won't let you 
breathe even while he's doing his blessed 
fiddling !" 

But now he is much less troubled in this 
way, partly because he has learnt from 
experience that even the most restless and 
inattentive audience can always be captured 
and subdued with a little patience and 
persistence. In this connection Mr. 
Zacharewitsch's testimony on one point is 
rather interesting, since he has found that 
if he is not quite in the vein and doing 
absolutely his best, then his efforts go for 
comparatively little and he never succeeds 
in securing that complete conquest of his 
hearers which he aims at. " It is really 
very curious/' he observed, " for I suppose 
there is no difference in my playing which 
anyoae but myself would be aware of — and 
yet the effect as regards the public is 
unmistakable. They are not moved. My 
playing falls flat. The applause is half- 
hearted. There is just lacking, I suppose, 
that complete rapprochement between per- 
former and listener, that touch of personal 
magnetism, that makes all the difference." 

As to the music which he chooses, Mr. 
Zacharewitsch plays the very stiffest works 
at times — things which might be supposed 
to be quite over the heads of the ordinary 
non-musical public, such as the concertos of 
Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Elgar ; Bach's 
Chaconne, and so on. And yet he 
declares that, though such music may not 
be completely understood by all, it never 
fails to grip and hold them. They feel that 
it is great, and appreciate it, so to speak, in 
spite of themselves. All of which goes to 
suggest that restaurant music may be a 
means not only of affording lucrative engage- 
ments to the musical profession but also of 
materially advancing the musical education 
of the general public. 

At the same time it must not be over- 
looked that the public has its rights in this 
matter also, and the procedure is not to be 
commended of the Parisian chef d'orchestre 
who a few years ago tried to establish in the 



law courts his right to perform, not what 
his hearers wanted, but what he chose to 
give them. The legal proceedings arose 
when, on the hotel proprietor giving him 
notice, he brought an action for wrongful 
dismissal. He was, he explained, a highly- 
talented performer, a prize-winner of the 
Paris Conservatoire, and so on, and as such, 
he maintained, he could not be called upon 
to perform music which he considered 
unworthy of his powers ! It is hardly 
necessary to say that the Court made short 
work of such an absurd contention, pointing 
out that if he chose to play in a restaurant 
he must either provide the sort of music 
which his proprietor required or seek employ- 
ment elsewhere. 

An older establishment than the Regent 
Palace Hotel, in the case of which, as I have 
already remarked, much attention has always 
been paid to music, is the Savoy, where the 
present musical director is Mr. Yakov Krein, 
who hails from Petrograd, where he studied 
under Auer, the well-known teacher of 
Mischa Elman and other famous players. 
According to Mr. Krein, restaurant audiences 
differ surprisingly in their musical tastes, 
and no little care and judgment are required 
to give them always exactly what they want, 
for he fully agrees with what has been observed 
above, that it is no part of the functions of 
a restaurant orchestra to educate the public 
— at any rate, not to the extent of playing 
music which they do not wish to hear. Not 
only, he says, do different restaurants require 
different kinds of music — even though fre- 
quented by apparently just the same class of 
people — but even at the same establishment 
the same class of programme is not always 
suitable. On the contrary, the judicious con- 
ductor bent on supplying " what the public 
wants " takes careful stock of his audience in 
the first place, and then, having formed his 
impression of their requirements, proceeds to 
select his pieces accordingly. 

It must be, one would think, a task of 
some difficulty to deduce in this way the 
musical tastes of a roomful of peopR with 
no further assistance than that afforded by 
a general survey of the company, since 
appearances are proverbially deceptive. That 
soulful-looking lady, for instance, with an 
expression suggestive of all that is romantic 
and sentimental, may in reality be tone- 
deaf, or perhaps a devotee of ragtime, just 
as that jovial, country-squire-like person 
with the loud voice, the hearty laugh, and 
rubicund visage, apparently bespeaking any- 
thing but advanced musical tastes, might be 



THE MUSIC OF THE RESTAURANT. 



135 




A HANDSOME DOUCEUR 
IF THE ORCHESTRA WILL 
SUSPEND ITS OPERATIONS 

FOR HALF AN HOUR." 



in reality one of our most famous and most 
serious composers ! 

But it is Mr. Krein's business, not mine, 
to solve these delicate problems, and, to do 
him justice* he confesses that it is not always 
an easy thing to do. 

Otherwise, perhaps it would not have been 
his experience to receive on one occasion a 
note on the conclusion of a certain item con- 
taining the mysterious question, " Where is 
the body ? " Such an inquiry, one may 
well believe, was calculated to prove some- 
what puzzling, especially to anyone imper- 
fectly acquainted with the language, and to 
whom also the peculiarly u dry " character 
rf British humour was not at the time too 
well known. No wonder, therefore, that 
it required some little reflection before it 
dawned on him what was 
the sarcastic insinuation 
which it was intended to 
convey in this waggish 
fashion* But the real cream 
"f the joke in Mr. Krein's 
opinion resided in the fact 
that the music in question 
which was condemned in 
'his W ay as too funereal 
insisted in reality of — 
elections from " Carmen >J ! 

Perhaps after this it is 
hardly surprising that Mr, 
Kxein has not a very high 
opinion of the musical 
totes of the fashionable 
London public at the pre- 
sent day. He considers, 
indeed, that so far from 
improving in this respect 




they have dis- 
tinctly deterio- 
ratedduringrecent 
years. Whether 
this is to be 
ascribed to the 
demoralizing in- 
fluence of ragtime 
or to some other 
cause he does not 
undertake to say, 
but of the fact 
itself he is abso- 
lutely satisfied on 
the strength of his 
own experiences. 
And doubtless he 
would add as 
c on fir matory 
evidence some of 
the amazing requests which have reached 
him at times in his capacity as chef d'arckestre. 
There is the gentleman, for instance, who 
sends along a polite note requesting that the 
band will play, say, the " Pathetic JJ Sym- 
phony of Tchaikovsky, sublimely unconscious 
of the fact that a work of such dimensions is 
entirely beyond the resources of even the 
finest of restaurant bands ; while in just the 
opposite direction is the unflattering com- 
munication which promises a handsome 
douceur if the orchestra will suspend its 
operations altogether for half an hour. 
Truly it takes all sorts to make up the world, 
and no one discovers this much more quickly 
than the director of a restaurant band. 

Another whose evidence on the subject is 
interesting is Mr. De Groot, the excellence of 




THE 

v.* 



wngia 



GETS AS EXCITED A*tt> EfcTT itiJsrAS^IC AS IF AT 

A WfflSITY OF MICHIGAN 



136 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



whose work as conductor of the orchestra 
tit the Piccadilly Restaurant has already 
been referred to- Mr. De Groot, like Mr; 
Krein, is also of the opinion that the con- 
ductor who hopes to achieve the best reaults 
must carefully study his audiences and give 
them the things which really appeal to 
them. But this need not necessarily be 
poor music, since even the lightest music 
can be good of its kind. At the same time^ 
Mr. De Groot lays stress on the fact that 
the task of the restaurant orchestra is in 
some respects peculiarly difficult, precisely 
because most of the finest music is debarred 
itj and it is compelled in consequence to get 
all its results from more or less second-rate 
materia 1. 

The relatively undemonstrative demeanour 
of even the most appreciative restaurant 
audience is another factor, says Mr, De 
Groot, which has to be reckoned with — in 
London j at all events, 

" On the Continent/ 1 he observed on this 
point, " it is so very different. There, if 
you play something 
popular, such as selec- 
tions from a well- 
known operaj the 
public gets as excited 
and enthusiastic as if 
at a theatre, and the 
effect^ of course, is very 
stimulating to the per- 
formers. Not that I 
have any . particular 
cause to complain, for 
our audiences at the 
Piccadilly are always 
most kind and appre- 
ciative — but in the 
English, not the 
Continental way." 

In this connection, 
too, it must always be 
borne in mind that 
some people — and not 
only the unmusical* 
either — do not like 
restaurant music at all ; 
and no doubt there is 
quite a good deal to 
be said in support of 

the opinion emphatically upheld by some 
that music in the dining-room is a good thing 
out of place. Certainly there can be few 
frequenters of restau rants who have not 
been disposed to adopt this view at times 
when by ill luck they have found themselves 
seated in undue proximity to the performers* 





platform, for few experiences are more 
exasperating than that of trying to maintain 
a conversation under such conditions, * £ The 
nearer the trombone the sweeter the meat " 
is a perverted proverb whose authorship has 
been ascribed to Mr. Sousa ; but its accuracy 
would certainly not be endorsed by most. 

At the same time there is pretty general 
agreement among restaurant proprietors and 
managers of the present day that if music 
is not invariably regarded as a boon and a 
blessing by all of their patrons it is none 
the less impossible to dispense with it. Mr* 
Reeves Smith, managing director of the 
company which controls both Claridge*s and 
the Savoy, as well as the Berkeley, bears 
witness to interesting effect on this point, 
" At one time we thought we would be very 
superior and distinguished by dispensing 
with music altogether, but we found it did 
not do. Although people may not listen to 
the music at all when it is provided, and 
may even profess to consider it a nuisance^ 
we soon found it was badly missed when we 

tried to do without it. 
All the life and gaiety 
of the place seemed to 
depart and the general 
atmosphere was 
totally different. True 
we have never believed 
in making the music 
too prominent , for we 
know that this is dis- 
tasteful to our par- 
ticular public. But 
however unobtrusive 
it may be it is quite 
a different thing when 

vou abolish it alto- 

-f 

gether ; it must be 
there somewhere or 
other in the back- 
ground/' 

In contrast with the 
discretion exercised in 
this respect nowadays 
in the best London 
restaurants may be re- 
called the very difi erent 
arrangements which 
prevailed in bygone 
times, when the merry Tzigane and his gipsy 
band was employed without salary and allowed 
to recoup himself at the expense of the guests 
by methods barely distinguishable from black- 
mail. For the practice adopted was for the 
leader to wander about the room with his 

mism^f^r 6 play ddiber - 



SEATED IN UNDUE PROXIMITY TO THE 
PERFORMERS* PLATFORM." 



THE ML'SIC OF THE RESTAURANT. 



i37 



ately " at " his selected victim, until the 
latter, in sheer desperation — or more often 
perhaps from the fear of appearing mean in 
the eyes of a fair companion — succumbed, 
and bought him off. How sue li a preposterous 
arrangement could ever have been tolerated 
it is difficult to understand, but such was 
certainly the case. Nay, there is even ojie 
well-known London restaurant where, within 
quite recent times, the same 
>rocedure, or something very 
ike it, has been permitted 
by the management, to the 
astonishment of not a few. 
As, however, the practice in 
question has since been aban- 
doned, it may be presumed 
that those concerned ha\e 
realized their mistake, and 
no more need be said on 
the subject. 

A more recent develop- 
ment of restaurant music 
has been provided since the 
coming of ragtime by the 
appearance on the scene of 
various eminent American 
composers specializing in this 
particular line who sing and play their own 
inspired effusions* Mr, Melville Gideon is one 
well-known practitioner who has done a good 
deal in this way, while Mr, Nat D, Aver is 
another. And such performances prove very 
attractive — if not to the " high-brow " hearer 
with a soul above ragtime, at all events to 
the " average sensual man/' who finds it just 
the sort of thing he likes. 

In the same way dancing has also been 
pressed into service as a supplementary means 
of entertainment for the restaurant public 
during recent years. The tango boom of 
two or three years ago was primarily respon- 
sible for this particular innovation, and few 
will need to be reminded of the extent to 
which the craze prevailed for a time when 
every establishment with the smallest pre- 
tensions to being up to date found it essential 
to include among its other attractions an 
exposition of the dance of the hour. Now the 
tango h no more, but its after-effects remain* 
in the shape of dancing on more general lines, 
which is found a pleasant addition to the 
attractions of the music which accompanies it. 

Is music an aid or a hindrance to alimenta- 
tion ? This is a question which inevitably 
comes up for consideration when the subject 
of what someone has called " meal-time 
melody" is broached, and it is hardly 
necessary to add that the opinion of the 

Vol. Iii.-Wt 



faculty lias been taken on the point. What, 
then, is the verdict ? Is it or is it not desirable 
to take our soup to the accompaniment ol, 
say, Elgar's " Salut d' Amour T ' ? Does or 
does not a savoury go down better when 
its assimilation proceeds concurrently with 
that of Dvorak's Humoreskc ? In reply to 
these momentous questions, the faculty 
answers characteristically, " Yes — and No/' 




THE VICTIM, IN .SHEER DESPERATION', SUCCUMBED, AND 
BOUGHT HIM OFF," 



In other words, it all depends on circum- 
stances, 

u Feeding the human frame/' it has been 
explained by one authority } " is a most 
important matter, and theoretically should 
be undertaken in the calmest and most 
delil>emle manner, with the greater part of 
one's attention alive to the importance of 
thorough mastication , and with as little 
demand on the higher nerve centres as possible, 
so that the stomach may not he deprived of 
the blood which it requires for the satisfactory 
fulfilment of the digestive function. For this 
reason reading at meals and conversation 
imparting too severe a tax upon the intellect 
are alike to be deprecated, and in the same 
way the effect of a restaurant orchestra 
playing fast and furious music in immediate 
proximity could hardly fail to exercise an 
injurious influence by upsetting the quiet of 
the nervous system. On the other hand, soft 
and reposeful music, far enough away not 
to interfere with conversation, could only have 
a pleasantly stimulating effect, and is there- 
fore to be cordially approved of." To what 
extent these a views would obtain general 
support in the medical world I will rtot under- 
take to say, but it is reassuring to know that 
the custom of meal-time music has at least 
the supoffitrfr^MlWi^r^^AiWiiWrtainlv one 



which is -not 



W w 



lAfcWW'ifittislied 



\:z 



JIM BRENT'S VC 



hh 



>2? 



nm 



Author of a The Lieutenant and Others " and " Sergeant Michael Cassidy, R.E" 

Illustrated by Cyrus Cuneo. 







bbbb 



F you pass through the Menin- 
gate at Ypres, and walk up 
the slight rise that lies on the 
other side of the moat, you 
will come to the parting of 
the ways. You will at . the 
same time come to a spot of 
unprepossessing aspect, whose chief claim to 
notoriety lies in its shell-holes and broken- 
down houses. If you keep straight on you 
will in time come to the little village' of 
Potige; if you turn to the right you will 
eventually arrive at Hooge. In either case 
you will wish you hadn't. 

Before the war these two roads — which 
join about two hundred yards east of the 
rampart walls of Ypres — were adorned with 
a fair number of houses. They were of that 
stucco type which one frequently sees in 
England spreading out along the roads that 
lead to a largish town. Generally there is one 
of unusually revolting aspect that stands 
proudly by itself a hundred yards or so 
farther out than the common herd. And 
there my knowledge of the type in England 
ends. 

In Belgium, however, my acquaintance with 
this sort of abode is extensive. In taking 
over a house in Flanders that stands un- 
pleasantly near the Hun, one is not con- 
strained to note that there are three sitting, 
two bed, h. and c. laid on, with excellent 
onion patch, near railway and good golf- 
links. The end-all and be-all of a house is 
its cellar. The more gloomy, and dark, and 
generally horrible the cellar the more likely 
are you to find a general, by the light of 
a tallow dip, consuming his last hamper from 
Fortnum and Mason in it. And this applies 
more especially to the Hooge road. 

Arrived at the fork, let us turn right- 
handed, and proceed on foot along the deserted 
road. A motor-car is not to be advised, as 
at this stage of the promenade one is in 
full sight of the German trenches. For about 
two or three hundred yards no houses screen 
you, and then comes a row of the stucco 

Copyright in the Unl 



residences I have mentioned. Also at this 
point the road bends to the left. Here, 
out of sight, occasional men sun themselves 
in the heavily-scented air, what time they 
exchange a little playful badinage in a way 
common to Thomas Atkins. At least, that is 
what happened some time ago ; now, of course, 
things may have changed in the garden city. 

And here really our journey is ended, though 
for interest we might go on another quarter 
of a mile. The row of houses stops abruptly 
and away in front there stretches a long 
straight road. A few detached mansions of 
sorts in their own grounds stand back on each 
side. At length they cease, and in front lies 
the open country. The poplar-lined road 
disappears out of sight a mile ahead, where it 
tops a gentle slope. And half on this side of 
the rise, and half on the other, there are the 
remnants of the bonne bouche of the whole 
bloody charnel-house of the Ypres salient — 
the remnants of the village of Hooge. A 
(loser examination is not to be recommended. 
The place where you stand is known in the 
vernacular as Hell Fire Corner, and the Hun — 
who knows the range of that corner to the 
fraction of an inch — will quite possibly resent 
your presence even there. And shrapnel 
gives a nasty wound. 

Let us return and seek safety in a cellar. 
It is not what one would call a good-looking 
cellar ; no priceless prints adorn the walls, 
no Turkey carpet receives your jaded feet. 
In one corner a portable gramophone with 
several records much the worse for wear 
reposes on an upturned biscuit-box, and lying 
on the floor, with due regard t6 space economy, 
are three or four of those excellent box-mat- 
tresses which form the all-in-all of the average 
small Belgian house. On top of them are laid 
some valises and blankets, and on the one 
in the corner the sweet music of the sleeper 
strikes softly on the ear. It is the Senior Sub- 
altern, who has been rambling in Sanctuary 
Wood — the proud authors of our nomen- 
clature in Fknders possess the humour 
necessary for Punch — 2 II the preceding nighty 

itrd States of Amenta. 



JIM BRENT'S V.C, 



141 




*" GOOD LORD 1 MY GOOD FELLOW,' CRIED THE MAJOR, IRRITABLY, * DON'T BE ABSURD. 
ARE YOU PROPOSING TO BLOW IT VP ? ' " 



ridiculous." The Major snorted. " Once and 
for all, Brent , I won't hear of it. We're far 
too short of fellows as it is." 

And for a space the subject languished, 
though there was a look on Jim Brent's face 
which showed it was only for a space. 

Now when a man of the type of Brent 
takes it badly over a woman, there Is a strong 
probability of very considerable trouble at any 
time. When, in addition to that, it occurs in 
the middle of the bloodiest war of history, the 
probability becomes a certainty. That he 
should quite fail to sec just what manner of 
woman the present Lady Goring was, was 
merely in the nature ot the beast. He was — 
as far as women were concerned— of the 



genus fool. To him sl the rag, and the bene, 
and the hank of hair " could never be any- 
thing but perfect. Perhaps it is as well that 
there are some men like that. 

All of which his Major who was a iran oi 
no little understanding— knew quite well. 
And the knowledge increased his irritaticn, 
for he knew the futility of trying to adjust 
things. That adjusting business is ticklish 
work even between two close pals ; but when 
the would-be adjuster is very little more than 
a mere acquaintance, the chances of success 
might be put in a small-sized pill-box. To 
feel morally certain that your best officer is 
trying his hardest to r?et himself killed, and 

state offl^ that at 



142 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



intervals throughout the days that followed 
the luncheon I have spoken of, did he reiterate 
with solemnity and emphasis his remark to 
the Staff Captain anent women, which eased 
his feelings, if it did nothing else. 

The wild scheme Brent had half-suggested 
did not trouble him greatly. He regarded it 
merely as a temporary aberration of the brain, 
in which the glorious possibilities of an abso- 
lutely impossible success had for the moment 
unbalanced its owner's mind. In the South 
African war small parties of mounted sappers 
and cavalry had undoubtedly ridden far into 
hostile country, and, getting behind the 
enemy, had blown up bridges, and generally 
damaged their lines of communication. But 
in the South African war a line of trenches 
did not stretch from sea to sea. 

And so, seated one evening at the door of 
his commodious residence talking things over 
with his Colonel, he did not lay any great 
stress en the bridge idea. Brent had not 
referred to it again ; and in the cold light of 
reason it seemed too foolish to mention. 

44 Of course," remarked the C.R.E., " he's 
bound to take it soon. No man can go on 
running the fool risks you say he does without 
stopping one. It's a pity ; but, if he won't 
see by himself that he's a fool, I don't see 
what we can do to make it clear. If only that 

confounded girl r " He grunted and got up 

to go. "Halloa! What the devil is this 
fellow doing ? " 

Shambling down the road towards them was 
a particularly decrepit and filthy specimen of 
the Belgian labourer. In normal circum- 
stances, and in any other place, his appear- 
ance would have called for no especial 
comment ; the brand is not a rare one. But 
for many months the salient of Ypres had been 
cleared of all its civilian population ; and the 
sudden appearance of this one, apparently 
from nowhere, was not likely to pass un- 
noticed. 

" Venez ici, monsieur, tout de suite." At 
the Major's words the old man stopped, and 
paused in hesitation ; then he shuffled 
towards the two men. 

" Will you talk to him, Colonel ? " The 
Major glanced at his senior officer. 

44 Er — I think not ; my — er — French, don't 
you know- — er — not what it was." The 
woithy officer retired in good order, only to be 
overwhelmed by a perfect deluge of words 
from the Belgian. 

" What's he say ? " he queried, peevishly. 
" That bally Flemish sounds like a dog 

fight.- Dig 

" Parlez-vous Fran^ais, monsieur ? " The 



Major attempted to stem the tide of the old 
man's verbosity, but he evidently had a. 
grievance, and a Belgian with a grievance is 
not a thing to be regarded with a light 
heart. 

44 Thank heavens, here's the interpreter ! m * 
The Colonel heaved a sigh of relief. k% Ask 
this man what he's doing here, please." 

For a space the distant rattle of a machine 
gun was drowned, and then the interpreter 
turned to the officers. 

" 'E say, sare, that 'e has ten thousand 
franc behind the German line, buried in a 
'ole, and 'e wants to know vat 'e shall do.*' 

44 Do," laughed the Major. " What does he 
think he's going to do ? Go and dig it up ? 
Tell him that's he's got no business here at 
all." 

Again the interpreter spoke. 

44 Shall I take 'im to Yper and 'and 'im to 
the gendarmes, sare ? " 

44 Not a bad idea," said the Colonel, " and 
have him " 

What further order he was going to pre 
is immaterial, for at that moment he looked 
at the Belgian, and from that villainous old 
ruffian he received the most obvious and 
unmistakable wink. 

44 Er — thank you, interpreter ; I will send 
him later under a guard." 

The interpreter saluted and retired, the 
Major looked surprised, the Colonel regarded 
the Belgian with an amazed frown. 

Then suddenly the old villain spoke. 

44 Thank you, Colonel. Those Ypres gen- 
darmes would have been a nuisance." 

And the voice was the voice of Brent. 

44 Great Scot ! " gasped the Major. 4t What 
the " 

44 What the devil is the meaning of this 
masquerade, sir ? " The Colonel was distinctly 
angry. 

44 I wanted to see if I'd pass muster as a 
Belgian, sir. The interpreter was an invaluable . 
proot." 

44 You run a deuced good chance of being 
shot, Brent, in that rig. Anyway, I wish for 
an explanation as to why you're walking 
about in that get-up. Haven't you enough 
work to do ? " 

44 Shall we go inside, sir ? I've got a favour 
to ask you." 

Wc are not very much concerned with the 
conversation that took place downstairs in 
that same cellar of which I have already told, 
and in which two senior officers of the corps 
of RoraiiEngineers listened for nearly an hour 
to an apparently disreputable old farmer. 



JIM BRENTS V.C. 



J 43 



It might have been interesting to note how 
the sceptical grunts of those two officers 
gradually gave place to silence, and at length 
to a profound and breathless interest, as they 
pored over maps and plans. And the maps 
were all of that country which lies behind 
the German trenches. 

The closing remark of the speaker, how- 
ever, I will give. 

" That is the rough outline of my plan, sir. 
I claim that I have reduced the risk of not 
getting to my objective to a minimum. When 
I get there I claim that my intimate know- 
ledge of the patois renders the chance of 
detection small. As for the actual demolition 
itself, an enormous amount will depend on 
luck ; but I can afford to wait. I shall have 
to be guided by local conditions. And 
therefore I ask you to let me go. It's a 
long odds chance, but if it comes off it's 
worth it." 

" And if it does come off, what then ? 
What about you ? " The Colonel's eyes and 
Jim Brent's met. 

" I shall have paid for my keep, Colonel, 
at any rate." 

Everything was very silent in the cellar ; 
outside on the road a man was singing. 

" In other Avords, Jim, you're asking me to 
allow you to commit suicide." 

He cleared his throat ; his voice seemed 
a little husky. 

" I am, sir." And there was that in 
Brent's face which none but a fool could 
mistake. 

" Gad, my lad, you're a fool, but you're 
a brave fool ! For Heaven's sake, give me 
a drink." 

" I may go, Colonel ? " 

" Yes, you may go — as far, that is, as I am 
concerned. There is the General Staff to get 
round first." 

But though the Colonel's voice was gruff, 
he seemed to have some difficulty in finding 
his glass. 

As far as is possible in human nature, Jim 
Brent, at the period when he gained his V.C. 
in a manner which made him the hero of 
the hour — one might almost say of the war — 
was, I believe, without fear. The blow he had 
received at the hands of the girl who meant 
all the world to him had rendered him utterly 
callous of his life. And it was no transitory 
feelings the mood of an hour or a week. 
It was deeper than the ordinary misery of a 
man who has taken the knock from a woman, 
deeper and much less ostentatious. He seemed 
to view life with a contemptuous toleration 



that in any other man would have seemed 
the merest affectation. But it was not shown 
by his words ; it was shown, as his Major had 
said, by his deeds — deeds that could not be 
called bravado because he never advertised 
them. He was simply gambling with death, 
with a cool hand and a steady eye, and sub- 
limely indifferent to whether he won or lost. 
Up to the time when he played his last great 
game with his grim opponent he had borne 
a charmed life. According to the book of the 
words, he should have been killed a score of 
times, and he told me himself only last week 
that he went into this final gamble with a 
taunt on his lips and contempt in his heart. 
Knowing him as I do, I believe it. I can almost 
hear him saying to himself, " Dash it all ! 
I've won every time; for Heaven's sake do 
something to justify your reputation." 

But — he didn't ; Jim won again. And when 
he landed in England from a Dutch tramp, 
having carried out the maddest and most 
hazardous exploit of the war unscathed, he 
slipped upon a piece of orange-peel and broke 
his right leg in two places, which made him 
laugh so immoderately when the contrast 
struck him that it cured him — not his leg, 
but his mind. However, all in due course. 

The first part of the story I heard from 
Petersen, of the Naval Air Service. I ran 
into him by accident in a grocer's shop in 
Hazebrouck — buying stuff for the mess. 

" What news of Jim ? " he cried, the 
instant he saw me. 

" Very sketchy," I answered. " He's the 
worst letter-writer in the world. You know 
he trod on a bit of orange-peel and broke his 
leg when he got back to England." 

"He would." Petersen smiled. "That's 
just the sort of thing Jim would do. Men 
like him usually die of mumps, or the effects 
of a bad oyster." 

" Quite so," I murmured, catching him 
gently by the arm. " And now come to the 
pub. over the way and tell me all about it. 
The beer there is of a less vile brand than 
usual." 

" But I can't tell you anything, my dear 
chap, that you don't know already ! " he 
expostulated. " I am quite prepared to 
gargle with you, but " 

" Deux bieres, tna'm'selle, s J il vous plait." I 
piloted Petersen firmly to a little table. " Tell 
me all, my son ! " I cried. " For the purposes 
of this meeting I know nix, and you as 
part hero in the affair have got to get it 
off your chest." 

He laughed, and lit a cigarette. " Not 
much of the heroic in my pan of the stunt, 



144 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



I assure you. As you know, the show 
started from Dunkirk, where in due course 
Jim arrived, armed with credentials extracted 
only after great persuasion from sceptical 
officers of high rank. How he ever gat 
there, has always been a wojider to me : 
the Colonel was the least , of all his diffi- 
culties in that line. But Jim takes a bit of 
stopping. • . , ,. 

" }iy part of the show was to transport that 
scatter-brained idiot over the trenches and 
drop hin\ behind the German lines. His idea 
was novel, I must admit, though at the time 
I thought he was mad, and for that matter I 
still think he's mad. Only a madman could 
have thought of it, only Jim Brent could have 
done it and not been killed. 

" From a height of three thousand feet, in 
the middle of the night, he proposed to bid 
me and the plane a tender farewell and 
descend to terra firma by means of a para- 
chute." 

" Great Scot," I muttered. " Some 
idea." 

" As you say — some idea. The thing was 
to choose a suitable night. As Jim said, 
* the slow descent of a disreputable Belgian 
peasant like an angel out of the skies will 
cause a flutter of excitement in the tender 
heart of the Hun if it is perceived. Therefore, 
it must be a dark and overcast night.' 

" At last, after a week, we got an ideal 
night. Jim arrayed himself in his togs, took 
his basket on his arm — you know he'd hidden 
the gun-cotton in a cheese — and we went 
round to the machine. By Jove ! that chap's 
a marvel. Think of it, man." Petersen's 
face was full of enthusiastic admiration. 
" He'd never even been up in an aeroplane 
before,, and yet the first time he does it is with 
the full intention of trusting himself to an 
infernal parachute, a thing the thought of 
which gives me cold feet ; moreover, of doing 
it in the dark from a height of three thousand 
odd feet behind the German lines with his 
pockets full of detonators and other abomina- 
tions, and his cheese full of gun-cotton. 
Lord ! he's a marvel. And I give you my 
word that of the two of us — though I've flown 
for over two years — I was the shaky one. He 
was absolutely cool ; not the coolness of a 
man who is keeping himself under control, 
but just the normal coolness of a man who is 
doing his everyday job." 

Petersen .finished his beer at a gulp, and we 
encored the dose. 

lt Well, we got off about two. We were 
not aiming at any specific spot, but I was going 
to go due east for three-quarters of an hour, 



which I estimated should bring us somewhere 
.oyer Courtrai. Then he was going to drop 
off, and I was coming back. The time was 
chosen so that I should be able to land again 
at Dunkirk about dawn. 

" I can't tell you much. nwre, We escaped 
detection going over the lines, and about ten 
-minutes to three, at a height of three thousand 
five hundred, old Jim tapped me on the 
shoulder. He understood exactly what to 
do — as far as we could tell him : for the 
parachute is still almost in its infancy. 

"As he had remarked to our wing com- 
mander before we started : ' A most valuable 
experiment, sir ; I will report on how it works 
in due course.' 

" We shook hands. I could see him smiling 
through the darkness ; and then, with his 
tosket under his arm, that filthy old Belgian 
farmer launched himself into space. 

" I saw him for a second falling like a 
stone, and then the parachute seemed to 
open out all right. But of course I couldn't 
tell in the dark ; and just afterwards I struck 
an air-pocket, and had a bit of trouble- with 
the bus. After that I turned round and went 
home again. I'm looking forward to seeing 
the old boy and hearing what occurred." 

And that is the unvarnished account of the 
first part of Jim's last game with fate. Inci- 
dentally, it's the sort of thing that hardly 
requires any varnishing. 

The rest of the yarn I heard later from Brent 
himself, when I went round to see him in 
hospital, while I was back on leave. 

" For Heaven's sake, lady, dear," he said to 
the sister as I came in, " don't let anyone else 
in. Say I've had a relapse and am biting the 
bed-clothes. This unpleasant-looking man is 
a great pal of mine, and I would commune 
with him awhile." 

" It's dreadful, old boy," he said to me as 
she went out of the room, " how they cluster. 
Men of dreadful visage ; women who gave me 
my first bath ; unprincipled journalists — all 
of them come and talk hot air until I get rid 
of them by swooning. Of course, my swoon 
is entirely artificial ; but the sister is an 
understanding soul, and shoos them away;'* 
He lit a cigarette. 

" I saw Petersen the other day in Haze- 
brouck," I told him as I sat down by the bed. 
" He wants to come round and see you as 
soon as he can get home." 

" Good old Petersen. Fd never have 
brought it off without him." 

" What happened, Jim ? " I asked. " I've 
got up tc the moment *vhen you left his bus, 



JIM BRENT S V.C. 



M5 




WITH HI5 BASKET uxo ER „,s m -- ;a-V E C,o ^|^5ft^^^ 



;gyi» himself 



I4& 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



with your old parachute, and disappeared into 
space. And of course I've seen the T>fficial 
announcement of the guns being seen in the 
river, as reported by that airman. But there 
is a gap of about three weeks ; and I notice 
you have not been over communicative to the 
halfpenny Press.' ' 

" My dear old man/' he answered, seriously, 
" there was nothing to be communicative 
about. Thinking it over now, I am astounded 
how simple the whole thing was. It was as 
easy as falling off a log. I fell like a stone 
for two or three seconds, because the blessed 
umbrella wouldn't open. Then I slowed up 
and floated gently downwards. It was a 
most fascinating sensation. I heard old 
Petersen crashing about just above me ; and 
in the distance a searchlight was moving 
backwards and forwards across the sky, 
evidently looking for him. I should say it 
took me about five minutes to come down ; 
and of course all the way down I was wonder- 
ing where the devil I was going to land. The 
country below me was black as pitch : not a 
light to be seen — not a camp-fire — nothing. As 
the two things I wanted most to avoid were 
church steeples and the temporary abode of 
any large number of Huns, everything looked 
very favourable. To be suspended by one's 
trousers from a weathercock in the cold, grey 
light of dawn seemed a sorry ending to the 
show ; and to land from the skies on a 
general's stomach requires explanation." 

He smiled reminiscently. " I shall never 
forget that descent, Petersen's engine getting 
fainter and fainter in the distance, the first 
streaks of dawn beginning to show in the 
east, and away on a road to the south the 
headlights of a car moving swiftly along. 
Then the humour of the show struck me. 
Me, in my disguise, odoriferous as a family of 
ferrets in my borrowed garments, descending 
gently on the Hun like the fairy godmother in 
a pantomime. So I laughed, and — wished 
I hadn't. My knees hit my jaw with a crack, 
and I very nearly bit my tongue in two. 
Cheeses all over the place, and then I was 
enveloped in the folds of the collapsing 
parachute. Funny, but for a moment I 
couldn't think what had happened. I sup- 
pose I was a bit dizzy at the shock, and 
it never occurred to me that I'd reached the 
ground, which, owing to the darkness, I hadn't 
known was so close. Otherwise I could have 
landed much lighter. Yes, it's a great 
machine, that parachute." He paused to 
reach for his pipe. 

" Where did you land ? " I asked. 

" In the middle of a ploughed field. 



Couldn't have been a better place if I'd 
chosen it. A wood or a river would have 
been deuced awkward. Yes, there's no doubt 
about it, old man, my luck was in from 
the very start. I extricated myself from 
the folds, picked up my cheeses, found a 
convenient ditch alongside to hide the 
umbrella in, and then sat tight waiting for 
dawn. 

" I happen to know that part of Belgium 
pretty well, and when it got light I took my 
bearings. Petersen had borne a little south 
of what we intended, which was all to the 
good, as it gave me less walking ; but it was 
just as well I found a sign-post almost at 
once, as I had no map, oi course ; far too 
dangerous, and I wasn't very clear on 
names of villages, though I'd memorized 
the map before leaving. I found I had 
landed somewhere south of Courtrai, and 
was abqut twelve kilometres due north of 
Tournai. 

" It was just as I'd decided that little 
fact that I met a horrible Hun, a large and 
forbidding-looking man. Now, the one 
thing on which I'd been chancing my arm 
was the freedom allowed to the Belgians 
behind the German lines, and luck again 
stepped in. 

" Beyond grunting f Guten morgen ' he 
betrayed no interest in me whatever. It was 
the same all along. I shambled past Uhlans, 
and officers and generals in motor-cars — 
Huns of all breeds and all varieties, and no 
one even noticed me. And after all, why on 
earth should they ? 

" About midday I came to Tournai ; and 
here again I was trusting to luck. I'd 
stopped there three years ago at a small 
estaminet near the station kept by the widow 
Demassiet. Now this old lady was, I knew, 
thoroughly French in sympathies ; and I 
hoped that she would pass me off as her 
brother from Ghent, who was staying with 
her for a while, in case of necessity. Some 
retreat of this sort was, of course, essential. 
A homeless vagabond would be bound to 
excite suspicion. 

" Dear old woman — she was splendid. 
After the war I shall search her out, and 
present her with an annuity, or a belle vache, 
or something dear to the Belgian heart. 
She never even hesitated. From that night 
I was her brother, though she knew it 
meant her death as well as mine if I was 
discovered. 

" ' Ah. monsieur/ she said, when I pointed 
this out to her ; l it is in the hands of le bon 
Die*. At the most I have another five years, 



JIM BREXT S V.C. 



J 47 



and these Allematids — pah ! ' She spat with 
great accuracy. 

" But she was good, was the old veuve 
Demassiet." 

Jim puffed steadily at his pipe in silence 
for a few moments. 

u I soon found out that the Germans 
frequented the . esiaminet ; and, what was 
more to the point — luck again, mark you — 
that the gunners who ran the battery I 
was out after almost lived there. When 
the battery was at Tournai they had 
mighty little to do, and they did it, 
with some skill, round the beer* in her big 
room. 

" I suppose you know what my plan was. 

The next time that battery left Tournai I 

proposed to cut one of the metals on the 

bridge over the River Scheldt, just in front 

of the engine, so close that the driver couldn't 

| stop, and thus derail the locomotive. I 

' calculated that if I cut the outside rail — the 

one nearest the parapet wall — the flange on 

the inner wheel would prevent the engine 

! turning inwards, which would have caused 

i delay, but very possibly no more. I hoped, 

I on the contrary, to turn it outwards towards 

the wall, through which it would crash, 

dragging after it with any luck the whole 

train of guns. 

'* That being the general idea, so to speak, 
I wandered off one day to see the bridge. 
As I expected, it was guarded, but by a 
somewhat indifferent-looking Hun — evidently 
only lines of communication troops. For all 
that, I hadn't an idea how I was going to do it. 
Still, luck, always luck ; the more you buffet 
her the better she treats you. 

" One week after I got there I heard the 
battery was going out : and they were going 
out that night. As a matter of fac^, that hadn't 
occurred to me before — the fact of them 
moving by night, but it suited me down to 
the ground. It appeared they were timed to 
leave at midnight, which meant they'd cross 
the bridge about a quarter or half past. And 
so at nine that evening I pushed gently off 
and wandered bridgewards. 

" Then the fun began. I was challenged, 
and. having answered thickly, I pretended to 
be drunk. The sentry, poor devil, wasn't a 
bad fellow, and I had some cold sausage 
and beer. And very soon a gurgling noise 
pronounced the fact that he found my beer 
good. 

** It was then I hit him on the base of his 
skull with a bit of £as-pipe. That sentry will 
never ' drink beer again." Brent frowned. 
"A nasty blow, a dirty blow, but a necessary- 



blow. *' He shrugged his shoulders and then 
went on. 

u I took off his top-coat and put it on. I 
put on his hat and took his rifle and rolled him 
down the embankment into a bush. Then I 
resumed his beat. Discipline was a bit lax 
on that bridge, I'm glad to say ; unless you 
pulled your relief out of bed no one else was 
likely to do it for you. As you may guess, 
I did not do much pulling. 

* k I was using two slabs of gun-cotton to 
make sure — firing them electrically. I had 
two dry-cells and two coils of fine wire for 
the leads. The cells would fire a No. 13 
Detonator through thirty yards of those 
leads — and that thirty yards just enabled 
me to stand clear of the bridge. It took me 
twenty minutes to fix it up, and then I had 
to wait. 

" By gad, old boy, you've called me a cool 
bird ; you should have seen me during that 
wait. I was trembling like a child with 
excitement : everything had gone so marvel- 
lously. And for the first time in the whole 
show it dawned on me that not only was 
there a chance of getting away afterwards, 
but that I actually wanted to. Before that 
moment Fd assumed on the certainty of 
being killed.'"' 

For a moment he looked curiously, int re- 
spectively, in front of him. Then suddenly, 
and apropos of nothing, he remarked, 
" Kathleen Goring tea'd with me yesterday. 
Of course, it was largely due to that infernal 
orange-skin, but I — er — did not pass a sleep- 
less night." 

Which I took to be indicative of a state of 
mind induced by the rind of that nutritious 
fruit, rather than any reference to his broken 
leg. For when a man has passed unscathed 
through parachute descents and little things 
like that, only to lose badly on points to a 
piece of peel, his sense of humour gets a jog 
in a crucial place. And a sense of humour is 
fatal to a hopeless, undying passion. It is 
almost as fatal, in fact, as a hiccough at the 
wrong moment. 

" It was just about half-past twelve that 
the train came along. I was standing by 
the end of the bridge, with my overcoat and 
rifle showing in the fitful light of the moon. 
The engine-driver waved his arm and shouted 
something in greeting and I waved back. 
Then I took the one free lead and waited until 
the engine was past me. I could see the 
first of the guns, just coming abreast, and at 
that moment I connected up with the battery 
in my pocket- Two slabs of gun-cotton make 
a noise, as you know, and just as the engine 



148 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 







■ ^ 


i-\v'v V ^ 

■ \ 


B^ ^ 




Tpfc^^B^^^^^^*k T^^^^Jfc »*^^^^ 






j^ 


EX*- 



f TH£ ENGINE CRASHED THROUGH THE PARAPET WALL AND HUNG FOR A 



reached the charge, a sheet of flame seemed 
to leap from underneath the front wheels. 
The driver hadn't time to do a thing — the 
engine had left the rails before he knew what 
had happened* And then things moved. In 
my wildest moments I had never expected 
surh a success. The engine crashed through 
the parapet wall and hung for a moment in 
space. Then it fell downward into the water } 
and by the mercy of Allah the couplings held. 
The first two guns followed it, through I he 
gap it had made, and then the others over- 
turned with the pull before they got there ? 
smashing down the wall the whole way along* 
Every single gun went wallop into the Scheldt 
—to say nothing of two passenger carriages 
containing the gunners and their officers. 
The whole thing w T as over in five seconds ; 
and it's no exaggeration to say that before 
the last gun hit the water yours truly had 
cast away his regalia of office and was legging 
it like a two-year-old back to the veuve 
Demassiet and Tournai, It struck me that 
bridge 1 might shortly become an unhealthy 
spot." 



Jim Brent laughed* " It did- I had to 
stop on with the old lady for two or three 
days in case she might be suspected owing 
to my sudden departure — and things hummed. 
They shot the feld webel in charge of ihe 
guard ; they shot every sentry ; they shot 
everybody they could think of; but- — they 
ne\ tr vwn suspected me. I went out and had 
a look next day, the day I think that R.FX. 
man spotted and reported the damage. Two 
of the guns were only fit for turning into 
hairpins , and the other four looked very like 
the morning after, 

11 Then* after I'd waited a couple of days, 
I said good-bye to the old dear and trekked 
off towards the Dutch frontier, gaining 
immense popularity, my dear old son, by 
describing the accident to all the soldiers I 
met* 

" That's all, I think, I had words with 
a sentry at the frontier, but I put it 
across him with his own bundook. Then 
I wandered to our Ami>assadorj and sailed 
for England in due course. And— er — that's 

Wv-ERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



JTM BREST'S VX. 



*49 




MOMENT IM SPACE IHEN IT SELL DOWNWARD INTO THE WATER/ 



Such is thfc tale of Jim Brent's V\C There 
only remains for me to give the wording of 
his official report on the matter, 

u I have the honour to report ," it ran, 
*' that at midnight on the 25th ult., I success- 
fully derailed ihe train conveying six guns 
of calibre estimated at about 9-inch } each 
mounted on a railway truck. The engine , 
followed by the guns, departed from sight in 
about five seconds, and fell through a drop 
of some sixty feet into the River Scheldt 
from the bridge just west of Tournai. The 
gunners and officers — who were in two coaches 
in rear — were also killed. Only one seemed 
aware that there was danger, and he^ owing 
to his bulk, seemed unable to get out of the 
door of his carriage. He was, I think, in 
command- I investigated the damage next 



day when the military authorities were a 
little calmer^ and beg to state that I do not 
consider the guns have been improved 
by their immersion. One, at least, has 
disappeared in the mud. A large number of 
Germans who had no connection with this 
affair have, I am glad to report, since been 
shot for it. 

11 I regret that I am unable to report in 
person, but I am at present in hospital with a 
broken leg, sustained by my inadvertently 
stepping on a piece of orange-peel, which 
escaped my notice owing to its remarkable 
similarity to the surrounding terrain. This 
similarity was doubtless due to the dirt un 
the orange-peel/' 

Which, 1 may say, should not be taken as a 
model for official reports by the uninitiated* 



by Google 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




MR. FRANCIS BARRAUD S WORLD-FAMOUS PAINTING, "HIS 
MASTER'S VOICE" 



fct 



HIS MASTERS 
VOICE. 

HOW NIPPER BECAME 
WORLD-FAMOUS. 



By FRANCIS BARRAUD, 

CREATOR OF THE ORIGINAL PICTURE. 

J lie above trade -mark and the following cartoons originating 

therefrom are reproduced by permission of the Cramuphone 

Company t Ltd., Hayes, Middlesex. 



HIS MASTER'S VOICE. 





it]f con; 



A STORY WITHOUT 



^^r^ ^™^^ 



NIPPER, THE DOC. USED AS THE 

MO:>EL FOR THE PICTURE. 

From a P%GtogTQpk. 

HI THINK I am 
lg| safe in saying 

V*i^ that everyone 
^ji in any civilized 
part of the world 
knows the little dop look- 
ing into the trumpet and 
listening to " His Master's 
Voice," so perhaps I may 
be forgiven for telling the 
public in these columns 
something about Nipper > 
the original model. 

I painted the picture 
before I had ever heard of 
the Gramophone Company, 
and the instrument which 
appeared in it was a talking 
of nondescript 
1 called it ' «is 



"HIS MASTER'S VOICE." 



'5^ 




By rnuite*!/ <r/ ) 



MR. BALFOUR LISTENS TO " JIH 



Master's Voice *' and showed it to several 
publishers, as I thought there would be 
a demand for it as a reproduction, Tlu^e 
gentlemen, however, were not of the same 
opinion ; one well-known man objected on 
J he score that no one would know what the 
dog was doing. Another very generous and 
venturesome publisher offered me five pounds 
Tor it, but I was not tempted, 

Meantime , I was thinking of improvements ; 
I was not satisfied with the trumpet I had 
jiainted. It was black and ugly, and 
I wanted something more pictorial. 
One day a friend of mine suggested 
I should call on the Gramophone 
( ompany and ask the in to lend me 
u brass horn to paint from ; so, 
armed with a small photograph of 
my oil-painting, I paid them a visit 
at their offices, which were then in 
Maiden Lane. To a gentleman 1 
saw there I explained what I re- 
quired and showed him the photo- 
graph. He asked at once if he might 
show it to the manager. Mr. Barry 
Owen. I agreed. Mr, Owen shortly 
tame out and asked me if the picture 
was for sale and whether I could 
introduce a machine of their own 
make, a gramophone, instead of the 
one in the picture. 1 replied that 
the picture was for sale and I could 
make the alteration if they would 
let me have an instrument to paint 
from. 

The change was made and the 
picture was bought from me. I then 



advised the 
Gramophone 
Company not to 
make it an obvious 
advertisement bv 
putting their 
name across the 
l>aekground, but 
to leave it with- 
out any lettering 
and merely give 
it the title" I had 
already suggested, 
viz!, "His Master's 
Voice/' I pointed 
out that the sub- 
ject s p o k e for 
itself and required 
no explanation. 

The picture has 
lent itself in 
an extraordinary 
way to political skits , a selection of which 
is reproduced in these pages, I have a 
scrap-book with quite forty or more, and 
fresh ones appear almost monthly in the Press 
in most countries on earth. One favourite 
way of burlesquing it is to make the dog stem 
to be smelling a bottle of whisky, the title 
being misspelt H His Master's Vice." 

Kipper, the original living dog, belong d 
to my brother Mark, who was scenic artist 
at Bristol fur manv vears. He never left mv 



MASTER' S VOICE." 




1S2 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 




AMERICAN CARTOONISTS HAVE NOT BEEN SLOW TO AVAIL THEMSELVES OF 

THE IDEA. 



somewhere in 
Germany) saw 
the dog and was 
struck by t he 
strong likeness. 
He sought out 
the animal's 
master and 
tempted him with 
gold; Nipper's 
double and his 
owner parted 
company. Not 
for long did the 
poor little chap 
pose as Nipper — 
at least, not alive 
— although lie 
continued h i i 
impers onation 



brother's heels ;. when Mark 
took his "call" for a trans- 
formation scene, Nipper always 
followed him on to the stage. 
When my brother died, Nipper 
attached himself to me, and I 
had him for many years. He 
is now dead. 

I heard a very sad story of 
another little dog who, alas ! 
resembled Nipper too closely. 
No doubt he was proud of the 
fact, but it was his undoing. 
An enterprising gramophone 
dealer abroad (I am glad it 
was abroad — let us hope it was 



gfe^ 



>.-^ s 



A LONG WAY 
TO TIPPERARY 




W^"** 



Bjr tvitrUty of I 



HIS MASTERS VOICE, 




UW £ r l< ■ t €+$ II ,' J 

ANOTHER AMERICAN VERSION, THE "MASTER" 

ROOSEVELT- 



'iginBfkfr&m 

iwvBwrirepwicnisA- 



t.t. Jf, livtru. 



much longer than 
he could ever 
have expected to. 
His new master 
poisoned him, 
.stuffed him, and 
placed him in a 
shop window in 
Nipper's famous 
listening position 
in front of a 
gramophone. 

The ordinary 
man in the street 
Ls always inter- 
ested in the little 
listening f ox- 
terrier, S: mcLort* 
don enthusiast 

d acquired, to 
delight, a doy 



HIS MASTER'S VOICE/* 



*$3 




up in his basket He was always taken 
in and rushed madly at it, but, of course, it 
fell flat (I mean the cat, not the joke), and 
I .suppose to him it disappeared as if by 
magic. He was taken in over and over 
again. It always interested me, because it 
proved to me that a realistic bit of painting 
does appearYeal to a dog, I have heard many 
people contend that a picture would only 
appear a flat surface to an animal, but I don't 
think, after this experiment, that is the case. 



B9 WKTltty of] 
1 HES MASTERS VOICE ' 



{" Loudon QftiniuH." 
-AS HEARD fN GREECE, 



resembling Nipper and cherished him for some 
years. On the dog's death his master's 
enthusiasm actually impelled him to get 
Rowland Ward, the famous Piccadilly 
naturalist firm, to stuff his pet in "listening 
posture. The animai has since been acquired 
by the Gramophone Company, 

Nipper was a splendid subject to play 
practical jokes on. One that never failed 
was to put a very realistic reproduction of a 
cat, which was cut out in cardboard, sitting 





//* WFurfMy uf] 



' HIS MASTER'S VOICE 



Thb Pup ; u Really* I do wish he w juld *peal< ! * 
Vol. ILL- -11. 



is if courtfMv 0/ 1 [WnwtfbrtlktftU, HoknAnru 

HIS MASTER'S VICE, 

Another favourite joke was to give him 
some soda-water in a saucer ; he would go to 

drink it, when it 
would fizz. This 
annoyed him 
fearfully and he 
barked madly at 
it, but went on 
having sips, or 
rather laps, until 
he had finished it. 
Nipper was a 
good judge of 
character, I re- 
member on one 
occasion a Bohe- 
mian friend of 
mine called and 
wanted me to go 
for a walk, I was 
unable to leave 
my work y so he 
proposed taking 
Origin al fro rm Nipper . I laughed 

«cr^ y !b U t n oiL(+«vffiH|^OFIVilCHI^N the ide ^ a * 



4 _. 



154 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 




"HIS MASTER'S VOICE"— AS HEARD IN GERMANY. 



picture of " His Master's 
Voice M which hangs id the 
hoard-room- He also stated 
that from first to last t)\ir 
a million pounds had been 
spent in reproducing it. If 
Nipper only knew that, he 
would wag his little stumpy 
tail so proudly ! He did 
not know how he was 
going to be handed 
down to posterity. No 
more did I. 

Nipper bids fair to go 
on listening into the 
ages. 



Nipper would never follow anyone 
hut myself, or, at any rate, a mem- 
ber of the family. However, much 
lo my astonishment, he went with 
little persuasion, and returned in 
about an hour's time with my 
friend, I found that the "walk" 
had been a series of visits to places 
of refreshment in the neighbourhood, 
where Nipper was well aware that 
by sitting up on his hind legs he was 
sure to be plentifully fed with bis- 
cuits, I was fond of chaffing my 
friend by telling him that Nipper 
had summed him up in a minute 
and foresaw the kind of walk he 
was likely to have. 

Mr, Alfred Clark, the managing 
director of the Gramophone Com- 
pany, told a friend of mine that it 
might interest me to know that out 
at their head offices and factories 
at Hayes, Middlesex, they have fre- 
quent fire-drill practice ; should an 
actual conflagration take place, the 
firemen have instructions that the 
first thing to be saved is the original 



"His 
Master's 
Voice" 










NIPPER IN INDIA, 

An advertisement in Hindustani annnuncing that a nmubcr of 
new records are on sale ai three rupees each- 




/fjiiMu bj Cm tun it'Arkx] 

4f HI* MASTER'S VOICE 



, J -j Original from 

aad-ten y W5 hteflfllVERSITY fff> ^foftfflf ' 



[fir* Lt Journal 



In the H 



our 



of F 



By M. F. HUTCHINSON. 

Illustrated by Cyrus Cuneo. 



MtmSSgmSaM 



T was not quite six o'clock 
in the morning when Mr. 
Justice Meredon came out 
of the hotel on the cliffs, 
above Trescanon, and walked 
along a winding, picturesque 
path to a favourite spot. 
He was on his way to a little stone shelter, 
quite two miles from the hotel, once used by 
the coastguard as a look-out point ; it lay 
in the opposite direction to the favourite 
golf-links, and never once had this visitor, 
who loved quiet, met any human being 
there. Greatly he had enjoyed hours spent 
there looking out over the glorious and 
varied sweep of the coast-line, the wide 
stretch of sea, reading, thinking, and some- 
times dreaming. His mind was tuned to 
the anticipation of quiet pleasure when a 
discovery jarred his feeling of satisfaction — 
the paper-backed volume under his arm 
was not a copy of the Modern Review, but 
a magazine devoted chiefly to fiction. The 
stories in it were undeniably clever, but in 
the current issue one had caused Mr. Justice 
Meredon some distinct annoyance. It had 
been the subject of a smoking-room conver- 
sation the night before ; men engaged in 
• an ardent argument had relapsed into silence 
when the alert, youthful figure of the Judge 
had been noticed entering the lighted room 
from the darkness of a wide balcony without. 
The story was one of a murder, and con- 
cerned not so much with the criminal in the 
dock, but described the sufferings of a judge 
who recognized in the prisoner one whom 
he had known as a young and charming girl, 
a favourite visitor at his mother's house. 

Yes, the story had annoyed Mr. Justice 
Meredon. The judge on the bench had the 
clearest of duties before him, and must con- 
sider only the right administration of the 
law ; his private feelings were of no account. 
Meredon felt much inclined to throw the 
offending publication over the edge of the 
cliff, an impetuous, youthful action — but he 
was sometimes conscious of such irritating 
and unbecoming impulses — and then decided 
to leave the magazine on the bench in the 



little shelter towards which he was directing 
his steps. 

When the Judge reached the quaint little 
place, built of big stone slabs, he found some- 
one there before him. Someone — surely, 
a child ? — so small and slim was the figure 
wrapped in a big cloak and stretched on the 
old worn bench. He cleared his throat, 
the sensation of annoyance deepening within 
him. He liked to rest after the walk over 
the cliffs. 

The figure did not move. The feeling ot 
annoyance changed to one of embarrassment 
for he saw the back of a dark head— some- 
one was lying face downwards there. Some- 
one undoubtedly ill, sad, or troubled. Perhaps 
a child sobbing out youthful woes ! Then 
the stillness of the figure frightened him a 
little. Deliberately he put the magazine 
down on the grass, his stick beside it, and 
then went into the shelter and touched the 
figure lying there very gently on the shoulder. 
The delicate pressure of his fingers was, for 
some moments, quite unnoticed. A white 
face was raised, and two eyes, pathetically 
wistful, glanced up at the tall, grey-headed 
man. 

" My dear child," said the Judge, gently, 
" is anything the matter ? " A shiver, 
followed by a sob, answered him. The 
figure moved suddenly, sat erect, and the 
enveloping coat slipped open. 

Judge Meredon looked into the tragic 
face of a woman clad in a shimmering evening 
gown, its gauzy elaborateness hidden by 
the heavy, fur-lined coat. Dark hair, falling 
loosely about a thin face, added to the 
impression of intense pallor, of utter weari- 
ness. 

" I beg your pardon," exclaimed the man. 
The words were quite useless, foolishly 
ineffectual, but what else could he say as he 
wished he had not entered the shelter ? 

She looked up at him. " I have been here 
all night. I went to sleep and forgot every- 
thing. I often come here ! " 

The Judge was in a dilemma. Should he 
turn away at once from the place that had 
been such a haven of quiet to a busy man ? 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



i5i 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



He glanced again at an attractive 
face, and then spoke. 

"Are you in trouble ? Is there 
anything a stranger may do ? " 
Her eyes, as deep in colour as 
the violets to be found in shel- 
tered corners 
on the Cornish 
cliffs, searched 
his face. She 
sighed like a 
child who has 
found unex- 
pected com- 
fort } and sat 
down on the 
bench , draw- 
ing a hood 
fastened to the 
coat over her 
head j and thus, 
u nconsciously, 
adding to the 
pathos of her 
appearance. 

" I come here 
for peace/' she 
said, simply, 
11 because 1 am 
often so very 
tired/' 

"But you 
might take 
cold. Surely, 
it is an un- 
wise proceed- 
ing?" Her 
eyes met his 
for the second 
time ; he in- 
terpreted their 
expression cor- 
rectly ; colds 
and slight ail- 
ments did not 
come within the scope of her consideration, 

11 I come here for — courage ! " 

11 But/' said the Judge, " surely there is 
someone who can help you — take care of 
you ? " 

Tears gathered, and rolled slowly and 
steadily down her cheeks. 

11 Please/' she gasped, *' don't be so sorry. 
You know nothing about me, but I am glad 
you spoke to me, for I have sometimes 
thought all the goodness and chivalry in 
the world were dead/' 

" But/' asserted the kind-hearted gentle- 
mai>, " anyone would be sorry to think of a 




SHC LGOKEU 



HIM, 



1 HAVE BEEN' HERE ALE NIGHT. 
AND FORGOT EVERYTHING.* M 



WENT TO SLEEP 



as you. spending a 
cliffs* You should 



lady, as young and frail 
night out here on the 
not do it." 

" Oh, don't say that ! No one comes here 
at night ; they would be afraid of the lone- 
liness and the silence I love; but I come 
because I think I am beyond ordinary fears. 
The silence comforts me." A faint smile 
quivered on her lips. u We are strangers^ 
but you have comforted me, too; something 
in your face makes me feel so safe. We 
shall never meet anain. and so, because I have 
felt lonely j(JHnfet4 ,t -und hopeless, mav 1 tell 

you mi>^bflkmp>w* t0 **">" 



IN THE HOUR OF FEAR. 



*57 



Colour rushed .into the face that a sad-eyed 
woman dqjj&red had given her comfort. 

" If only I might do something to help 
you ! ". Mr. Justice Meredon removed his hat 
and sat. down on the bench by the side of 
the slight figure in the big coat. 

" But you do help me. I don't know how 
to explain it, but there is something in your 
face that gives me a curious feeling of safety. 
Fear could not master me in your presence. 
And now I want to talk to you. May I ? " 
The man was too moved to be able to 
answer in words, but she understood his 
silence and interpreted it correctly. 

" Thank you. I came here some hours ago 
feeling that I could not bear my life any 
longer — was in desperate need of comfort. 
I was married at seventeen, married to a man 
who has found me nothing but a disappoint- 
ment. And sometimes — sometimes this makes 
him cruel." The speaker slipped back the 
loose sleeves of her coat and showed to the 
shocked eyes of the man at her side two frail 
arms marked and cruelly scarred. " Last 
night," added the wistful voice, " he told me 
I was dull, nothing but a thing of stone, and 
strapped me to a chair. At midnight a 
servant found me — and — and — I escaped out 
here." 

" The brute," exclaimed the Judge, in a 
tone that would have amazed those who 
knew, him best. " The brute ! He deserves 
shooting for such cowardice. You cannot 
stay with him. Leave him at once. Where 
are your friends ? " 

She looked out across the quiet sea before 
she spoke again. 

" I often say I cannot bear it, but I must. 
He is my husband. I married him for better, 
for worse. His cruelty arises partly from — 
from — his indulgence in drink ; the day may 
come when no one would care for him as I 
should. When he is ill he needs me, calls for 
me, begs me, sometimes, to help him fight the 
demon that possesses him. Ah, have I been 
wrong to tell you all this ? You don't know 
his name, but just to tell you the truth has 
comforted me ; you can't understand how 
it has comforted me." 

The Judge pressed his lips into a hard, firm 
line. 

" I must go back, and not shrink. So far, 
10 one has ever seen me leave the house at 
night or re-enter it. There is an outer 
emergency staircase quite close to one of the 
balconies outside the windows of my room ; 
I can reach it easily, and it is my way of 
escape, not only from suffering, but from 
Ireadful thoughts that pursue me, whispers 



of what I might do. But when I am here 
I learn to be patient ; I learn to endure. I 
forget all the horrible pursuing thoughts — my 
own protests, entreaties, and threats ; for I 
possess a revolver and have said I would 
protect myself with it. That," she added, 
softly, " was dreadful of me, wasn't it ? " 

" Dreadful ? " repeated the Judge, " dread- 
ful ? I cannot see how you have submitted 
to such cruel treatment. No woman should 
bear such a life." 

" Sometimes "—she almost whispered the 
words—" I wonder what the end of it all will 
be. I like to sit here and look up at the stars 
and hope that in some other world an easier 
task will be given me. There are hours when 
I feel I cannot bear my life any longer, and 
thoughts and possibilities torment me — hours 
of despair. Now I shall have something to 
remember when I fancy that goodness and 
chivalry are dead; then I shall think of 
the stranger — ah, no ; don't tell me your 
name — the stranger with the kind, strong 
face that makes a tormented woman feel safe, 
and almost like a child of whom care is taken." 

" And I shall remember, too," answered the 
man, the note of strong emotion revealing 
itself in his voice. " But won't you listen to 
me ? May I not give you practical help or 
advice ? " 

" You cannot, indeed you cannot. I must 
return to my husband and try to be patient. 
It is meeting you here, and like this, that 
has unsealed my lips. And now I must go. 
Good-bye, kind stranger, good-bye." 

" It is not safe for you to creep out of your 
own house in the dark. How shall I be able 
to bear the thought of such sufferings as 
yours, and to know that I cannot do anything 
at all'? " 

" Ah, please don't make me sorry that I 
told you everything. You have given me 
fresh courage." 

With a simple, child-like gesture she 
pi ced her cold hand in his strong one. The 
Judge, never at a loss for a word, the light 
word of a brilliant speaker, could not, at 
first, find anything to say. And then he 
knew that he couM not let her go without 
asking a question. 

" Forgive me, but tell me one thing ! Are 
you often forced to come here to find the 
courage you must need so sorely ? Indeed, 
I must know." 

Slowly she shook her head. " It has 
happened that I have come here two or three 
times in a week, and then not for months 
together. Mv- husband is away a great deal, 
often for many, many weeks at a time." 



urn r i_r 



158 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



" And you are left here alone ? Don't you 
know where he goes and what he does ? 
This might give you your way of escape." 
Two patches of crimson colour showed on 
the Judge's cheeks as he met the gaze of her 
eyes, those innocent eyes. 

" I know nothing ; I do not want to know. 
Sometimes I guess many things, dreadful 
things ; but I have told you what I think is 
my duty. And I have learned it here in this 
quiet place of peace, where, also, I have met 
a friend." 

Again she smiled at him, and then passed 
round the side of the shelter and out of his 
sight. The man sat down on the bench and 
looked out to sea with stern eyes and firmly- 
set lips, remembering regretfully that he 
was leaving Trescanon before the middle of 
the day. Minutes passed before he realized 
that the woman he had met in this strange 
fashion and who had trusted him did not wish 
him to know her name. They would never 
meet again ; he would never be able to do 
anything for her. 

Four years passed by, bringing to Mr, 
Justice Meredon much hard work, which he 
loved, and a good deal of the world's praise. 

The year 19 — , as the autumn approached, 
found many people in the grip of a curious 
form of influenza which had all the character- 
istics of Asiatic fever and ague. The epidemic 
had its victims in every rank of society ; 
rich and poor suffered alike. It became 
necessary . for one of the Judges of the King's 
Bench, the Hon. Sir Fraser Linnell, to under- 
take part of the western circuit alone. After 
the opening of the Assizes at Bodmin, a 
disconcerting telegram was received an- 
nouncing the Judge's sudden illness and 
asking if anyone could take his place. 

So it came to pass that Mr. Justice Meredon 
departed, hastily, to the help of his learned 
brother. In the train he frowned over the 
newspapers which were prepared to make a 
great deal out of a murder case to be tried 
at Bodmin, and what they chose to describe 
as the sensational illness of the Judge. 

A woman was on her trial for murder, 

Mr. Justice Meredon knew the bare facts. 
She was said to have shot her husband while 
he lay asleep ; a revolver, with the wife's 
initials upon it, was picked up on the floor 
of the room. Persistently, since the inquest, 
the accused person declared her innocence. 
This murdered man was wealthy, Henry 
Desterre by name, and a member of a well- 
known family. Celebrated counsel were 
engaged in the case. 



Next morning, when Mr. Justice Meredon 
entered the cowded court, ther^was some- 
thing in the general atmosphere that instantly 
impressed his trained senses as unusual. 
The Clerk of Arraigns had no need to com- 
mand silence, there was not so much as the 
faintest hum of excitement. Every eye in 
the court remained fixed on the imposing 
figure of the Judge ; he was aware, also, 
that the members of the jury concentrated 
attention upon him ; the distinguished 
counsel, their juniors, and the busy solicitors 
looked, with one accord, directly towards 
him as if they would never glance in any 
other direction. 

And yet the prisoner was in the dock. 

When the eyes of the Judge glanced in that 
direction he understood the attitude of the 
court* A frail figure stood there, a woman 
with a wistful face, and her eyes, dark with 
suffering and silent appeal, were fixed upon 
him. 

Mr Justice Meredon averted his gaze, 
looking down on the papers before him ; but 
in the hushed court, the air of which was 
tense with emotion, his sudden pallor was 
instantly observed. 

The splendid figure in #rey wig and scarlet 
robes was that of a human being suffering 
.as the Judge had never suffered before. . 

The woman in the dock was the 6ne he 
had met in the stone shelter on Trescanon 
Cliffs. / v 

For a few moments lie did not hear the 
grave measured tones of the counsel for the 
prosecution opening the case, only a wistful, 
faltering voice that spoke of the comfort 
he had given ; and just as clearly memory 
presented for his contemplation words he 
had uttered. Had he not said that the man 
who could thus torture and torment a woman 
deserved shooting ? 

The pen in the hand of the Judge made 
aimless marks on a clear sheet of paper. 

During four long years the woman, who 
had spoken so pathetically of patience, had 
endured. Had the strange meeting in the 
early hours of a perfect summer day lingered 
as persistently in her memory as it had in 
his ? The man, who prided himself on his 
powers of self-control, his victory over 
feelings of personal sentiment, was racked by 
anguished thought. What measure of guilt 
rested upon him ? Had the frail woman in 
the dock remembered his words, dwelt upon 
them until they had become the keystone 
on which she constructed a way of escape, 
then, at last, in an hour of despair, such 
thoughts rnigl 



uh mriff 



■died action ? 



IN THE HOUR OF FEAR. 




*59 

two words ut- 
tered by the 
prisoner in the 
dock, 'Not 
Guilty ! " She 
had spoken in a 
perfectly dead 
voice, and only 
after a kindly- 
faced wardress 
had touched her 
gently on the 
shoulder* 



**SHK HAD SPOKKN* JN A 
PEtFRCTLY DKAD VOICEj 
A N U ONLY AFTER A 

DLY-FACED WARD 

HA1> TOUCKRD HllR GENTLY 

ON TUB SHOULDER. J1 



The counsel for the prosecution was 
perfectly aware of the emotion to be seen on 
the face above him, usually so imperturbable ; 
but he, himself, and everyone else in the 
thronged court, was under the same sway. 
)l<; was doing his utmost to banish it from 
his own heart and voice. But not a tr u • 
this painful feeling had been heard in the 



The clear voice of the counsel for the 
prosecution seemed to prove by quietly- 
uttered facts that Eleanor Norton Desterre 
was guilty t£ rhoatirig her husband while he 
lay in \k4 i*&U&p. V 5 Itioclftfl his utterance 



i6o 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



successfully, and forced himself to do his 
duty. His witnesses, though they spoke 
with manifest reluctance, were reliable and 
trustworthy persons. 

A man-servant, James Carton by name, 
answered the questions put to him with 
quivering lips, his hands clinging to the 
woodwork in front of him. 

" You had been in the service of Mr. 
Desterre for many years ? " 

44 Yes." 

I' Acted as his valet before his marriage ? " 

" Yes." 

" But at Trescanon Vale House there was 
only a small establishment and no other 
man-servant but yourself ? " 

44 Yes." 

44 Mr. Desterre kept no horses there, no 
groom to look after them ? " 

" Only a motor-car." 

" Where did the chauffeur live ? " 

" He slept in a room above the coach-house 
which had been turned into a garage, but 
had his meals in the house." 

" On the night of the murder you accom- 
panied your master to his room ? " • 

" Yes." 

44 He was not in good health, and in the 
doctor's hands ? " 

44 Yes." 

" Tell us what happened." 

" My master was very drowsy, and fell 
asleep immediately. My mistress came into 
the room and told me to go to bed." 

" You refer to the prisoner ? " 

"Yes." 

44 Why did she give you that order ? " 

44 Because she was always kind and con- 
siderate, sir. The doctor had ordered my 
master to take a draught, at night, and if 
he woke it was to be given him. My 
mistress said she would give it to him herself." 

Everyone in the court realized the reluct- 
ance of this witness, his utter inability to 
speak of one who had been invariably kind 
to him by the cruel name prisoner. He 
was allowed to give his answers in his own 
wav. 

44 What happened ? " 

44 1 went to my room, sir." 

" Your room was close to your master's ? " 

'* It was farther down the passage on the 
opposite side." 

44 The prisoner occupied a room at the 
other end of the house on the same floor ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" Tell us what disturbed you." 



The sound of a door closing." 
What did vou do ? " 



»gle 



" I jumped up, went out into the passage, 
and listened. I heard distinctly the voice 
of my master ; he was talking and muttering 
in his sleep." 

44 Were you alone on the landing ? " 

" My wife had heard the noise. She 
came along the passage towards me." 

" What did she do ? " 

" Went into Mr. Desterre's room expecting 
to find our mistress there." 

" Did she ? " 

" No." 

44 What did she see ? " 

" Mr. Desterre was lying on his back 
muttering a little." 

" Had the draught been taken ? " 

" No." 

" What did you do ? " 

" We talked a little on the landing." 

" Did you see anything ? " 

" We both saw the door of our mistress's 
room open and then close." 

" What time was this ? " 

" The clock struck one." 

" What did you do ? " 

" My wife went back to her room, and I 
lay down on my bed, leaving the door open." 

" Neither of you stayed with the sick man ? " 

" We both thought our mistress was 
waiting to return to the room." 

" You went to sleep ? " 

" Yes." 

" When did you wake ? " 

" At four o'clock in the morning." 

" Was the door of your room open as vou 
had left it ? " 

" No, it was closed." 

" You went out on the landing ? " 

" Yes. The door of my master's room 
was shut." 

" You opened it ? " 

44 Yes." 

44 What did you find ? " 

44 My master lying on his right side shot 
through the head." 

44 What did you do ? " 

" I ran out of the room, calling loudly." 

44 Who came to you ? " 

44 My wife, and in a few minutes the two 
maids." 

44 You saw a revolver ? " 

44 On the floor close to the bed." 

44 What did your wife do ? " 

44 She ran down the passage and knocked 
at the door of my mistress's room." 

44 Did she enter ? " 

u No, the door was locked. She knocked 
manv times. "gjnal from 

"\Y h *t* d mftti!fltfXh 



IN THE HOUR OF FEAR. 



161 



" We tried to get into the room, afraid 
that something might have been done to 
our mistress." 

" You did not succeed ? " 

" No." 

" And then you thought of the police ? 
Did you go yourself ? " 

" We rang the stable-bell, and as soon as 
the chauffeur came sent him for the police 
and for the doctor." 

" Your wife went back to the locked door ? 
What happened ? " 

" Mv mistress opened it." 

"At once?" 

" Immediately." 

" How was she dressed ? Tell us that first," 

" She had on a thick motoring coat over 
her evening dress." 

" You swear it was not a dressing-gown ? " 

" Yes." 

" What did she say ? " 

" ' What is it ? * That was all." 

" Did your wife tell her the dreadful truth ? " 

" Yes." 

41 What did the prisoner then do ? " 

" My mistress fainted, sir." 

" When you went to ring the stable-bell 
you found the house locked up as usual ? " 

" Yes." 

" No door or window open ? " 

On and on came the quietly - asked 
questions, the reluctant answers. Now and 
again the Judge, listening intently, glanced 
at the face of the keen and eager counsel 
for the defence, looked with something like 
hope in his eyes when the opportunity for 
cross-examination came. He only tried to 
shake the testimony of James Carton on 
one point — his absolute certainty as to the 
fastening of all doors and windows for the 
night. 

" There was an outer staircase ? " 

" Yes." 

" Where is the door connected with this ? " 

" At the end of the passage, sir, close to 
the room occupied by my mistress." 

Photographs were handed up to the jury. 

" That door could have been opened ? " 

" No. The bolts were rusted, the key 
long lost." 

44 Your mistress always slept in the room 
with the balconies." 

" She was fond of it and would not give 
it up." 

" Had any attempt been made to get her 
to do this ? " 

44 Yes, many times. My master often 
suggested another room, as he thought that 
• end of the house damp." 



" But his wife would not listen. Was 
she a lady determined to have her own way ? " 

u Oh, no, sir. She was very gentle and 
kind." 

" But on one point she was firm — her liking , 
for her room ? " 

" Yes -" 

" What did your master say to this ? " 

" He was angry." 

" What did he intend to do with the room?" 
" He said he would sleep in it himself." 
" But he had declared it damp ? " 
Further questions elicited from the witness 
the fact that the windows of the room 
occupied by Mrs. Desterre had three 
balconies, one of which was only separated 
from the emergency staircase by a distance 
of two feet. Again photographs were passed 
up to the jury and carefully examined by 
them. 

James Carton agreed, most eagerly, with 
his questioner that it would be by no means 
difficult for anyone to climb from the side 
balcony on to the iron staircase. It was 
with evident reluctance he admitted that 
he was not aware his mistress had ever been 
in the habit of making use of the outer 
stairs. Neither could he say that traces of 
footsteps had been seen there at any time. 
The constables examined the staircase when 
they reached the house, but rain had then 
begun to fall heavily. 

The Judge looked at the members of the 
jury ; surely he could read incredulity on 
their honest faces ? Why should a lady 
climb from a balcony to an outer staircase, 
when she felt inclined for fresh air, and 
especially at night ? He longed, for a 
moment, to throw off the signs of his dignified 
office and demand to be placed in the witness- 
box, and there state facts as he knew them. 
Invisible but powerful chains, the chains 
of duty, held him inexorably ; but even had 
he not had the dignity of a high office to 
maintain there were other difficulties. A 
statement of a meeting in the early hours 
of the morning with Mrs. Desterre in a rough 
stone shelter would prove, not merely that 
she had been in the habit of leaving her 
room at night when trouble threatened to 
master her, but also a motive for the murder — 
the sufferings of a tortured wife. 

The evidence of Mrs. Carton tallied in 
every particular with that of her husband. 
More than once tears streamed from her 
eyes as she spoke of the gentle mistress she 
had served. From her Mr. Delliter, for the 
defence, elicited that when, at one o'clock, 
the doorj jr^tp^lfpy (pesiems's room opened 



162 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



and then closed it was surprising she had 
not come out and spoken to them ; and she 
wept copiously as she was obliged to say 
that they saw nothing, certainly not the face 
of any stranger. The passage was dimly 
lighted. She also spoke of the affection her 
mistress had for the room with the balconies, 
and her refusal to change it for another. 

As the painful case wore on the Judge 
realized that the line to be taken by the 
defence was almost child-like in its simplicity. 
Mrs. Desterre had not been in the house at 
the time of the murder. Before midnight, 
since her husband was asleep, she left the 
house, impelled by strong desire, and went 
to a little shelter on the cliffs, a place she 
had been in the habit of frequenting. The 
murderer, who had cruelly shot a sleeping 
man, must have watched her leave the house 
and entered in the same way. Possibly 
had made use of the same means of ingress 
before. Prisoner's counsel was able to prove 
that the murdered man had been on many 
occasions away from his house for weeks at a 
time, and therefore had friends and acquaint- 
ances of whom his household knew nothing. 

Again and again Mr. Justice Meredon 
glanced at the faces of the jury. 

Mr. Delliter's impressive voice made the 
most of the story he had to tell. On the 
night of the murder the woman placed in 
the dock on a cruel charge had not been 
alone in the stone shelter on the cliffs. A 
man, in deep trouble and anxiety, had gone 
there, just as his client had, for quiet 
reflection — and this man was a stranger to 
Eleanor Desterre. There they had both 
heard the clock of Trescanon Church strike 
one — the hour at which both James and 
Elizabeth Carton swore their master was 
alive. This man, whose name was not even 
known to the defence, had paced the cliffs, 
or sat in the little stone refuge until four 
o'clock in the morning, when he had accom- 
panied the lady, in whose society he had 
so strangely found himself, as far as the 
field-track to Trescanon Vale House. 

The face of the Judge enthroned on the 
bench quivered ; he sat there as the outward 
sign of the majesty of temporal power, the 
calm impartiality of the law, as one raised 
above human passion, above sentiment. 
But for a moment all before him faded 
away. He saw the moss and fern grown 
shelter, the majestic sweep of a glorious 

bay and wistful eyes set in a thin face, 

heard only the tones of a woman's patient 
voice : — 

" There is something in your face that gives 



me a curious feeling of safety. Fear could 
not master me in your presence/' 

And now he sat there as a Judge and 
she was the prisoner in the dock. 

Again Mr. Justice Meredon exerted his 
power of self-control to the utmost, forcing 
himself to listen carefully to the brilliant 
advocate. The prisoner in the dock had 
pleaded " Not Guilty," and upon those 
two words, unsupported by evidence, hung 
all the force of the speech for the defence. 
The Court was breathlessly attentive, but 
the eyes of the woman, on trial for her life, 
did not rest on the face of the brilliant 
pleader, only clung, pathetic in their dumb 
intensity, to that of the Judge. Was there 
an unspoken challenge in that look ? Did 
it suggest that he, at least, would know the 
truth of the story told in court ? 

Mr. Delliter owned that the alibi on which 
the case for the prisoner rested was not sup- 
ported by the word of any witness who could 
be brought into court. With curious and 
yet most telling candour he took those 
listening to his eloquence into his confidence, 
describing in detail the difficulties experi- 
enced by the defence. 

Hotel proprietors in the Trescanon district 
had permitted the scrutiny of their books, 
but no person had been found who owned 
to spending the night following the 23rd of 
July on the cliffs. Owners of country- 
houses had searched their diaries and 
memories quite vainly, but still the accused 
person clung to the story, the truth of which 
it was quite evident her counsel firmly 
believed. 

Tears stood in the eyes of men and women 
alike as they listened to the eloquent speaker 
testifying his own conviction that still, 
though almost at the eleventh hour, the truth 
would be known. That stranger might 
still come forward ! Did his hearers think 
of miracles ? He, for one, believed in 
unseen forces. God Himself was on the 
side of the innocent and helpless. 

The counsel for the prosecution made 
no attempt to tear to shreds this poor little 
story to which the prisoner clung. He 
commented, simply, on the unlikelihood 
of a delicate woman spending hours in a 
rough shelter on the cliffs when a luxurious 
home was at her command. 

The Judge had little to do but listen ; the 
conduct of the case was distinguished by 
dignity on the one side, fervid but controlled 
eloquence on the other. 

Where should help be found ? 

Ifr'/Efeiira™™^.^ its conclusion 



IN THE HOUR OF FEAR* 



163 



when a note was brought into court and 
handed to the solicitors in charge of the case. 
The note was passed to the junior counsel 
for the defence, who gave it immediately 
to his leader. 

Instantly, and with a ring of triumph in 
his voice, Mr. Delliter made appeal to the 
Judge that the ordinary procedure might 
be interrupted and a witness for the defence 
heard. 

Mr. Justice Meredon, in carefully-schooled 
tones, granted the request. Two persons 
were ushered into the court : a man, mani- 
festly a "gentleman, accompanied by a lady 
heavily veiled. Several people in the court 
recognized the man as a well-known figure 
in society whose doings in the fashionable 
world had always excited much comment. 
He had spent, so the world said, a large 
fortune in a foolish fashion. Then his 
marriage with a beautiful girl had also given 
the newspapers interesting matter to describe 
and discuss. 

The unexpected witness was permitted 
to tell his story in his own words. He was 
sworn, and gave his name as Kenneth Hardy n. 

The prisoner in the dock made no sign, 
but the Judge, intensely aware of her 
slightest movement, knew that she sighed 
heavily like a tired child. The wardress, 
seated close to her, was openly wiping tears 
from her eyes. 

The court was perfectly still as Kenneth 
Hardyn began his story : " On the night 
of the 23rd of July I dined with a friend 
at Trescanon Cliff Hotel. I had been put 
ashore from a yacht in order to see him 
contest the golfing championship of the 
west, and I intended to take the night express 
to town. As my friend had been playing 
all day I refused to allow him to accompany 
me to the station when I turned out of the 
hotel about half-past ten. The express 
was due at 10.45. ^ n the dark I t0 °k a 
wrong turning, missed my way, and got to 
the station too late. Of course, I decided 
to return to the hotel and put up there for 
the night. When I struck into the lane 
that is a short cut two persons were in front 
of me, and as I walked on grass they were 
unaware of my approach. I heard the man 
say : ' If you marry me I swear to be always 
true to you, swear to become a decent 
fellow/ It sounds a simple thing, but it 
upset me completely. 

" Two years before I had said the same 
thing myself. I did not make for the hotel, 
but turned off along a cliff path and gave 
myself up to unhappy and miserable reflec- 



tion. The night was wonderfully beautiful, 
the stars shone brilliantly, and brought up, 
as it were, against the quiet and the peace, 
I seemed to see things in their true light. 
I forgot everything except the subject of 
my thoughts. About midnight I stumbled 
into a little stone shelter ; while I was there 
someone else, in trouble, too, came. In 
the dark, she and I. thus strangely thrown 
together — talked. To me she gave good 
and wise counsel. So deeply did she affect 
me that the passing of the time — Trescanon 
Church clock struck one — scarcely seemed 
of any account. Now and again I paced 
the cliff path, because I had no overcoat ; but 
it was not until four o'clock in the morning 
that the lady, who had been so good to me, 
told me she had only meant to stay in her 
place of refuge for one hour or so ; she was 
in the habit of coming there when she wanted 
comfort. I accompanied her as far as a 
field-track, which she told me led to her 
home. She wore a thick fur-lined coat, 
with a hood, over a black evening dress of 
satin, I think. I caught an early train at 
six o'clock in the morning, that took me to 
Plymouth. There I took advantage of an 
excursion steamer starting for Brest. In 
a tiny, out-of-the-way place I found my 
wife, and did just as my wise friend of the 
dark had advised : I told her everything. 

" I knew nothing of what had occurred at 
Trescanon, saw no English papers for some 
time. My wife and I travelled on to 
Switzerland and Italy. Several times I 
received a curious impression, waking and 
sleeping, that I was needed at home. We 
decided, though there seemed no ostensible 
cause, to return. Last night, in town, 
I read, in the evening paper, the account of 
the trial of Mrs. Desterre. We left London 
this morning and came here as quickly as 
possible. I was afraid to telegraph, though 
I did not think there could be any real doubt 
that the Mrs. Desterre, accused of a cruel 
murder, was the lady who had helped me to 
reshape my life, my unknown friend of the 
stone shelter. 

" I am able, now, to swear positively that 
from midnight after the 23rd of July I 
had the privilege of being in the company 
of Mrs. Desterre, who never left the shelter 
at all. Someone else, aware of that outer 
staircase described in the evidence, must 
have watched her out of the house, entered 
in the same way, and shot the sleeping man. 
I knew that the stranger who had been so 
good to me wa? [n gj f$g<fft trouble, but she 

said, ^■^|V'0^fcte,# She Sh0Uld 



164 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



have been watching by a sick bed, it had 
been impossible for her to remain in the 
house until she had visited what she 
caUed her place 
of peace and re- 
gained courage. 1 * 



he had made a statement as to the way in 

which the crime had been committed, but no 

notice was taken, The foreman of the jury 

passed a note to the Judge on the 

bench ; everyone knew that it meant 

the jury felt assured 

of the innocence of the 

prisoner in the dock. 







"THE JUDGE TiKNT HIS HEAD IN 
ASSENT, ' 1 DO NOT KNOW HOW SUE 
HAS LIVED THROUGH ALE SHE HAS 
liEEN CALLED UPON TO ENDURE,'" 



No one attempted to ask the witness any 
questions. Every word he uttered was true, 
and his heaTers knew it. In a court of law 



Mr. Justice Meredon spoke fur 
barely five minutes. He began by 
alluding to Mr, Delliter's telling 
declaration of belief in the unseen 
forces, the help rendered to humanity, 
in moments of dire need. He spoke 
in terms of warm praise of the manly and 
straightforward evidence given bv Mr, Kenneth 

H ^w^8pftibilsSs n ' priv 



ileged to 



IN THE HOUR OF FEAR. 



165 



hear. He complimented both the counsel 
engaged in the case, referring a second time 
to the declaration of faith they had been 
privileged to hear and which must leave its 
impression on them all. The innocence of 
Eleanor Norton Desterre had been proved 
in a signal manner. 

When the Judge left the bench, he sat for 
a long time in his robing-room thinking of 
the frail figure. He heard the sound of cheer- 
ing in the streets, and knew that a great 
crowd had assembled. Then he sent a 
message to Mr. Kenneth Hardyn begging 
that he would allow him a few minutes, and 
waited, still in his robes, for his coming. 

As soon as his door opened he rose with 
outstretched hand. 

44 1 am glad to have this honour, sir," he 
said, cordially. " I imagined you would not 
have left the building-" 

" The crowd is tremendous, and my wife 
is with Mrs. Desterre. It is I who am honoured 
by your wishing to see me." 

The Judge asked a question with simple 
directness : " Have you seen Mrs. Desterre ? " 

44 My wife is .with Mrs. Desterre persuading 
her to return with us to London,: to stay with 
us. I owe her more than I can ever hope 
to repay. How heroic she has been ! " 

The- judge bent his head in assent. " I do 
not know -how she has lived through all she 
has been called upon to endure. Do you 
know, Mr. Hardyn, I was in a terrible position. 
I should have stated to the jury, although the 
fact would not have saved the prisoner, that 
four years ago I had the honour of meeting 
Mrs. Desterre in the stone shelter of Tres- 
canon Cliffs. She told, me then she was 
in the habit of frequenting the little place. 
I never saw her again, never even heard her 
name, until yesterday morning, when I took 
the place of Mr. Justice LinnelL" 

The man to whom he spoke did not need 
to glance at the fine face ; he understood 
perfectly how the Judge must have suffered. 
His own happiness had granted him sym- 
pathetic insight. 

" You will have much to say to Mrs. 
Desterre," he answered, quietly. " May I 
suggest that, when you return to town, 
nothing would give us greater pleasure than 
the honour of welcoming you at our house ? " 



" And I shall be very glad indeed to come. 
Thank you for asking me." 

Again the Judge held out his hand. As 
soon as Mr. Hardyn left him he submitted to 
the removal of his robes and walked restlessly 
about his room. Then he remembered that 
■the murderer of Henry Desterre had yet to 
be discovered. Would it mean that she, who 
had suffered so much from publicity, must 
see again the secret and hidden pages of her 
book of life opened for the world's curious 
gaze ? 

Was it man or woman who, in the darkness 
of screening night, had watched Eleanor 
Desterre out of the house and then crept up 
the outer staircase on to the balcony and 
: through the open window into an untenanted 
bedroom ? It seemed to him he could answer 
the question. Surely the torturer of a good 
woman had met death at the hands of a bad 
one who had taken possession of a revolver 
kept in a place known to her and then, 
with it in hand, gone down a passage, unseen, 
unquestioned, and shot the master of Tres- 
canon Vale House. 

The Judge hoped with quite passionate 
intensity that if. ever the true murderer were 
brought to justice he might not be oh the 
bench. He could never again bear to hear 
that name, Eleanor Desterre, tossed from one 
to another in a court of law. 

Then, as he lifted his face to a sudden 
gleam of sunlight, a thought came to him. 
Hopes, which had hitherto never whispered 
alluringly to him, sprang" into existence. He 
dreamed of the joy of knowing that a woman's 
life, a woman's happiness, might really be 
safe in his keeping. Then, indeed, might he 
hope to keep fear from her — let her feel that 
of her care was taken. She had said she felt 
safe where he was, and yet he had never been 
able to do anything to help her, not when 
she had told him, on Trescanon Cliffs, the 
sad story of the misery she endured; not when 
he sat enthroned above her as Judge. 

The man shivered as he remembered. But 
the sunshine, gilding the closing hours of 
the day, suggested hope. And it seemed to 
him, suddenly, that he could see the eyes of 
the woman he loved, bright with hope and 
happiness, their pathetic wistfulness gone for 
ever. 



by Google 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



Some Humours of trie 
Post Office. 

By AN EX-P.O. SERVANT. 

Illustrated by Helen McKie. 




NE hardly looks for anything 
humorous in the Post Office, 
Indeed, quite a large pro- 
portion of the great British 
public regard the department 
as a very matter - of - fact 
institution , surrounded with 
red tape, and served by a staff lacking in 
humour, and sometimes even devoid of 
civility* But since all classes meet at its 
counters and use its various services, so it 
follows that there is a funny side to its 
colossal activities. The public demands 
much more than the conveyance of letters 
and parcels, and the following instance will 
show that little-heard-of but hard-working 
class of men, postmasters, in a new light. 

The head of a large office in the South 
received one day a delicately-scented missive, 
asking him personally to recommend a nice, 
quiet Baptist family into whose bosom a 
young lady, daughter of the letter-writer, 
could be received as a paying guest. The 
postmaster was par- 
ticularly requested to 
inquire on the follow- 
ing points : the lowest 
terms per week, what 
kind of table was kept, 
and what laundry 
arrangements could be 
made. And, finally , 
the applicant omitted 
a stamped addressed 
envelope, on the plea 
that postmasters' 
correspondence would 
no doubt travel free ! 
It is probably at the 
counter of a busy office 
where the humour of 
the Post Office is most 
in evidence. 

The writer well re- 
members the rage of an 
old, white-haired lady 
when he courteously 




&$&$ 



OCR OW 
MAN 



asked her to rewrite a portion of a telegram 
which was unreadable, 

u You mind your own business, young man ; 
no business to read people's private affairs. 
Shame on yer, I say. Me own daughter can 
read her mother's writing, and you do your 
dooty and send it as it's wrote there." 

To attempt to explain the whole process 
of telegraphy to the poor old soul was im- 
possible, and she flung out of the office in 
a great state of fury, taking her telegram 
with her. 

On another occasion an Irish farm labourer 
over here for the summer tendered a telegram 
which read : — 

1( Dear sister, are you dead ? If So, wire." 
The xlerk gently remarked that it was a 
strange message to send, and queried its 
correctness. 

" Shure, sorr, it is ; but Oi've received 
a letter this morning sayin* me darlin' sister 
be dead ? and it's shure Oi want to be before Oi 
lave me good masther for the ould counthry " 

And as it was written 
the telegram was 
dis pa tched , alth ough 
queried at each trans- 
mitting centre. 

The nervousness of 
a newly-appointed 
counter - clerk is a 
source of constant 
enjoyment to his more 
experienced colleagues, 
and the following 
incidents are vouched 
for. 

A certain young 
clerk was most anxious 
to get on counter duty, 
and thus vary the 
deadly monotony of 
the sorting office, and, 
by assuring his post* 
master that he was 
n Braiv*ss/3n^^lfr^W>lu»r with all the 

UNIVERSITY OF MfffffiSfflT rc g ulations 



i 



I 



V 



\ 



i " 



I 



i 



■ ■ 



SOME HUMOURS OF THE POST OFFICE. 



167 




"SHE WAS SURPRISED TO RECEIVE FOV HFEXCE 
IX COPPERS DOWN THE TRUMPET/' 

governing the transaction of the various 
branches of business, he was scheduled for 
a mixed counter duty. But he had not 
allowed for his nervousness, and the two 
following disasters.) from his point of view, 
happened on the first day. A gentleman 
arrived in a great hurry and pushed a tele- 
gram form through the opening out of his 
turn, saying, " Take this, young man ; I must 
catch the ten-twenty/' The clerk seized the 
form, and in front of a whole concourse of 
people popped it on the scales in a vain 
endeavour to arrive at the charge by weighing 
the number of words instead of counting 
them in the usual manner. The incident was 
appreciated by the prospective customers, 
and the clerk beat a hasty retreat, the laughter 
of the public ringing in his ears. 
Later in the day he served a very 
deaf old lady with stamps. She 
carried an ear-trumpet, and putting 
the useful instrument up to the wire 
netting to hear what the clerk had 
to say was surprised to receive 
fourpence in coppers down the 
trumpet. The youngster apologized 
freely for his blunder; but the old 
lady would nut rest until she had 
interviewed the postmaster, and 
even then she felt convinced that 
she had been the victim of an 
unkind practical joke. 

Some amusement was caused at 
a busy counter one day when the 
clerk, issuing a dog licence, asked 
in the usual way, " What name, 



please ? " meaning, of course, the owner's. 
" Hercules—and he's a fine house-dog, too/' 
came the reply* 

The Post Office is often held up to ridicule 
on account of the delay occasioned to a post- 
card, especially when we read that the item 
had taken two years and forty-one days to 
travel ten miles, but it is far oftener the case 
that the public themselves are the offenders 
by not properly addressing their correspon- 
dence. 

In some cases — quite a respectable number, 
too — letters, etc., are posted without any 
address being inscribed. I well remember 
a case arising out of the latter point- A will- 
known tradesman in a Midland city, noted 
for his irascible disposition, called one day 
at the counter, almost foaming with ra^e. 
He stormed away for some minutes at a 
meek-looking clerk, who at last summoned 
up courage to ask what was the trouble. 

" Trouble ! Trouble enough, when your 
confounded Post Office cannot deliver a post- 
card directed to a well-known councillor. 
I posted one two days ago for delivery only 
four Streets away, and this morning I learn 
that my friend has not received it. Most 
important matter, too — lost me an order 
worth twenty pounds." 

11 Excuse me a moment, sir," said the clerk, 
and going to the sorting office he brought 
back the actual post car d. 

Showing the reverse side to the irate 
tradesman he said, " Is this the card ? w 

" Yes, confound your impertinence. What, 
in the name of goodness, can you say to such 
colossal stupidity ? Ill sue the Postmaster- 
General for the twenty pounds. 7 ' 

M But, sir, would it not be better to address 
your postcards in future ? " said the clerk, as 




HE EftOKMED CH^rfiJrfnODlIte MINUTES AT A 

UWffERSff?mfleHE£N 



I 



168 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



L 



he deftly twisted the card round, showing 
the address side to be blank. 

The old gentleman turned away without 
a word, looking decidedly crestfallen as he 
left the office. 

The general extension of the telephone 
is the cause of much bad language and ill- 
temper, but here, again, there is a softer 
and funnier side. Two incidents which came 
within the writer's experience may be cited 
here. 

In a large Yorkshire town a city councillor 
served on the Baths and Parks Committee. 
The latter also included the cemetery in 
their administration, and the councillor in 
question was almost daily calling up the 
cemetery number on the 'phone. By a 
coincidence the telephone number of the 
local Hippodrome was almost identical with 
the former. Whether the mistake occurred 
at the local exchange or whether it was the 
councillor's does not matter, but it is a fact 
. that the worthy gentleman one day had almost 
completed the purchase of a double grave 
instead of a box for two at the local Hippo- 
drome, and he had to encounter a consider- 
able amount of good-natured chaff from his 
colleagues as a consequence. 

On another occasion a call at the counter 
telephone was received from a distant sub- 
scriber, who asked if Cox was about. " Yes," 
replied the clerk; "I'll get him." And Cox, 
the office porter, was unearthed and put in 
the call-box. " Halloa, Cox, that you ? " 
" Yes, sir." " How long have you been 
there ? " " Two years." " What's that ? " 
" Two years." " What on earth have you 
been doing ? " " Cleaning the office up, and 
such-like." And then the call was cut off, 
Cox returning to his work thinking he had 
been had. 

The sequel was not long in forthcoming. A 
traveller who had been impatiently pacing 
the length of the counter for some con- 
siderable time asked the counter-clerk to 
let him know if a call came through from his 
principal. " What name, please ? " replied 
the clerk. lt Oh, Cox is my name." Then 
ensued explanations, but the traveller didn't 
see the humorous side of the matter, especially 
when the charge for another call to his prin- 
cipal amounted to two shillings and twopence. 

The staff of a large post-office comprises a 
motley crowd drawn from all quarters of the 
British Isles, the service being particularly 
popular with Irishmen and Scotchmen. 
Discipline has to be kept, and it frequently 
happens that a supervising officer makes 
himself very obnoxious to his subordinates 



by the manner in which he interprets the 
code-book laid down for his guidance. In- 
subordination, even in the slightest degree, 
is not tolerated by the department, and 
some members of the staff who kick against t 
the vagaries of a supervisor adopt various * 
expedients to get on something like level ■ 
terms. Some years ago, in an office in the : 
Eastern counties, a supervisor made himself 
so generally detested by his bullying ways 
and absolute want of tact in dealing with his 
subordinates that a state approximatirg 
open rebellion obtained. Unfortunately, the 
postmaster, a ^nan of the old school, who 
never tempered justice with mercy, backed 
up his deputy. One of the youngsters, 
however, led an unceasing but undetected 
campaign against the unpopular supervisor. 
The latter could never detect the culprit 
who placed soap in the kettle when tea relief 
was due and arranged buckets of water, etc., in 
the unwary official's path when at midnight 
he inspected the deserted office. Nor did 
the supervisor dream that a certain junior 
invariably boiled his eggs in the martinet's 
coffee left carefully simmering on the hob. 
The supervisor's wife complained bitterly, 
too, that all the refuse of the dining-room, 
including empty stout and beer bottles, 
found their way home in that gentleman's 
dinner -basket. It is said that much domestic 
unhappiness was occasioned by the bottles, 
as the supervisor posed as a keen temperance 
reformer, and it happened sometimes that 
the basket arrived and was opened in the 
presence of their mutual friends. In spite 
of explanations and protestations, the idea 
got abroad that Mr. Robinson was not the 
man he seemed. 

It should be added that a good deal of 
Mr. Robinson's unpopularity arose from his 
efforts on behalf of temperance amongst the 
staff. He would pry round the men's lockers 
in an attempt to discover whether a bottle 
of Bass or a flask of spirits had been smuggled 
in. Although intoxicants are now allowed to 
be sold in the dining-rooms of certain large 
offices they were not allowed on the premises 
of the smaller post-offices, and a breach of 
the rule involved heavy penalties. 

In Mr. Robinson's time (I call him Robinson, 
but you will understand that his name was 
quite different) a considerable number. of the 
men drank rather heavily. The night duty- 
men would spend the day at country hos- 
telries, snatching an hour or two's sleep 
before coming on duty at midnight, and they 
invariably smuggled in a reviver for the wee 
small hoiflffls'Wheri Mr. Robinson was in 

VERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



SOME HUMOURS OF THE POST OFFICE. 



169 



charge they had their whisky or beer for 
breakfast, and to avoid disaster the liquor 
would be emptied into a tea-pot when they 
came on duty, and the bottles hidden. For 
the youngsters in the know it was very amusing 
to see the old hands pouring out their decoc- 
tion from a meek-looking tea-pot right under 
the nose of the unsuspecting supervisor. 
And once a happy-go-lucky Irishman emptied 
a goodly portion of ium into Mr. Robinson's 
coffee before he came into the messroom* 
The tale goes that he smacked his lips that 
morning with evident enjoyment , and 
promptly ordered another half-pound tin of 
that particular brand of coffee. 

Although he probably never knew. Mr. 
Robinson, or, rather, a suit of his clothes, was 
the cause of a huge joke 
amongst the younger fry. 

Mr, Robinson, like the 
careful man he was, in- 
variably wore out his old 
suits — unkind stories were 
told of the longevity of 
his clothes — on night duty. 
On one occasion, in the 
summer, he got wet through 
coming to the office, but, as 
luck would have it, he had 
in the messroom a parcel 
containing a suit which had 
just returned from being 
dyed a n d cleaned. To 
avoid a cold, he changed 
his clothes, leaving the wet, 
suit to dry until the follow- 
ing night. The youngsters, 
who came on for the North 
mail, seized on the suit, and soon had a 
very respectable imitation of the unpopular 
supervisor lying in an infrequently -used room, 
head under table. The pose was that of a 
drunken man, and a string of youngsters was 
seen to be filing in and out of the room to view 
Mr, Robinson's supposed fall from rectitude. 
Then the seniors heard of it, unci they crept 
in to see the disgrace of an old colleague. 
The majority of the men never dreamt that 
the figure was anything but what it purported 
to be. One old sorter who had worked side 
by side with his superior actually, out of the 
goodness of his heart, went out and obtained 
a cab to take his colleague home. And the 
cab had arrived at the office before the cat 
was let out of the bag by the instigator of 
the affair, now somewhat nervous. 

The rural postmen of the old school, who 
drove out in all weathers in their little red 
pony-carts, were a fine set of men. Alas ! 

VoL1ii.-12. 



they are almost as extinct as the dodo, the 
cycle and motor having ousted them. 

With a cheery good day for everyone, 
many a good tale could they tell of life on the 
road. They knew to a farthing the income 
of everybody on their route, and far more 
of the peopled private affairs than was dreamt 
of. But in justice to them they rarely, if ever, 
told these things. They liked their glass, too, 
and were welcome customers at the wayside 
inns, few of which they missed. Of course, 
these calls were strictly against the rules of 
the department, and were severely punished 
if discovered. 

One day the postmaster of a country town 
determined to accompany one old "mounted" 
postman. The postmaster was a strict 




"THEY SOON HAD A, VERY RESPECTABLE IMITATION OF THE 

UNPOPULAR SUPRKVISOR LYING IN T AN INFREQUENTLY-USED 

ROOM, HEAD UNDER TABLE." 



teetotaller ^ it should be said, Three miles out 
the Three Horseshoes stood a distance hack 
from the road, and although the driver tugged 
manfully at the reins, the pony turned off 
and came to a pause opposite the front door 
of the hostelry- The postmaster knew that 
the house was not in the postman's delivery, 
and for a moment there was an awkward 
pause. The old chap saved the situation, 
however, by scrambling down and leading 
the pony to the drinking trough, remarking, 
" She'll never pass this trough, sir, and I 
allays lets her have her fill, lor it's uphill 
work from Newion/' 

Quite a large number of people in my time 
used to imagine the halfpenny post was avail- 
able for letters, if only the flap of the envelope 
were left unsealed. Most personal letters 
were often sent in this way, and I have 
known enclosures of considerable value accom- 
panving the missives, including postal orders* 

IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



r 7° 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 




'.'THE POSTMASTER 
SUFFERED TERRIBLY*" 



But surely the limit 
was reached in this 
respect by the old 
lady who sent her 
son's clean shirt in 
the folds of a 
newspaper with the 
customary halfpenny 
wrapper surrounding 
the whole. Inside 
was a scrap of paper 
which said M that she 
hoped those nosey 
Post Office folk 
wouldn't open it^ as 
they would be bound 
to mess the cuffs of 
the shirt/' 

The stamping of 
letters by machinery 
is of comparatively 
recent introduction, 
and at the outset 
was the cause of 
some trouble to the 
staff. Only the ordi- 
nary flat letter can be 
sent through, and if 
envelopes containing 

such small articles as cigarettes, chocolates^ 

peppermints, needles, and pills are faced up 

with the ordinary correspondence, the machine 

resembles a Catling gun in full rip, for the 

articles fly out at dangerous angles. The 

story goes that a stamper who would persist 

in keeping open his mouth 

got quite a goodly number 

of pills shot therein. A 

sorter who found three pills 

shot out of their envelope 

by the machine was feeling 

unwell, and in desperation 

took them. When the cover 

was found to which they 

belonged, it was discovered 

that they were intended for 

a horse. The sorter's state 

was pitiable, especially 

when later he experienced 

the. full benefit of his 

* cure." 

A neither s t a mp ing 

machine story is perhaps 

worth relating, A new- 
sort ing-office in a southern 

town had been fitted with 

the latest form of machine, 

and the t postmaster, a 

pompous individual, asked 



the local maycT and other worthies to the 
opening. To show that his official knowledge 
embraced every detail of Post Office work, he 
not only explained the working, but started 
the machine, brushing on one side the 
attendant. Quickly grasping a pile of waiting 
letters, he ran them through, discoursing 
volubly on the efficiency of the machine. 
There was a sudden whiz and tear, and at 
once the air was filled with that abomination, 
electric snuff , The postmaster suffered terribly, 
and it was a wheezy, sneezy party who filed 
out into the streetj the inspection only half 
completed. 

Who has not a warm regard for Ihe ruddy- 
due ked telegraph messenger, as he pro- 
gresses leisurely along, often deep in the latest 
adventure of Mr. Sexton Blake ? The boys, 
although perhaps you would never guess it, 
are not free from ofll< ial cares. The *' skin ?3 
which troubles the clerk and postman by 
asking for explanations on this and that just 
as relentlessly pursues the messenger. The 
" skins " are usually issued in connection 
with delavs in delivery, and also for torn- 
foolery incidental to boyhood. 

Here is a sample of a messenger's reply to 
a complaint of excessive time occupied in 
delivering two telegrams within a distance of 
three miles, to be covered on a cycle. To use 
his own words to the postmaster : — 

" Dear Sir, — I had two talegrammes ? and 
I went to Smith's Boiler works first % then I 
come back along the kanal and watched three 
men fishing. They catched two gudgeon and 




THEN I COME BACK ALONG THE KANAL AND WATCHED THREE 

men i^HosMYorn 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



)gie 



SOME HUMOURS OF THE POST OFFICE. 



171 



three small bullheads, and then I went 011 to the 
fact one at the bottom of the lane. As I come 
away from the factorie I met a lad I used to 
know, and he said, * Where are you going ? ' 
and I said, ' Where are you going ? ' and he 
said, ' Home to Ashford, and my mother will 
give you some apples,' Then I was hungary 
when I come back, so I went home and had 
a pancake or two, so I was late, I am sorry 
this occurred, but it shall not do so again. — 
Yours truly sorry, Benjamin Butt/' 

Still, in spite of a strong caution, it did 
occur again, and that frequently, and a steam* 
roller which had had the misfortune to' run 
over a man was the cause. The messenger 
could not pass the roller without staying to 
watch it at work— sometimes for an hour — 
picturing, it is supposed, the whole tragedy 
again, and so gratifying his morbid nature. 
So he quitted the service and, strange to say, 
became a valued employ t of an undertaker. 

Another messenger having met with a 
cycle accident on duty was asked to furnish 
full particulars in a report. It was brief 
and to the point : '* I was coming hack with 
my feet up and there was a hole in the road 
which I didn't see. And when I came to 
myself I was unconscious and there were 
twelve persons and a lady standing round." 

Punctual it yis 
strongly insisted 
upon in the service, 
and with duties 
commencing at all 
sorts of unearthly 
hours some men 
experience great diffi- 
culty in keeping to 
their scheduled hour 
of attendance. One 
such man I knew 
confessed that out 
of a year of early 
du t y — 4 a.m. — he 
had been more or 




less late on more than half the mornings. 
In fact, it was so bad that he was threatened 
with dismissal* He tried various expedients, 
but none of them proved infallible in getting 
him up. Even two powerful alarums set 
together would not thoroughly rouse him, for 
he confessed to going off again whilst putting 
his boots on. 

Having observed a considerable amount of 
vibration when one of his alarm clocks went 
off, he fixed up an ingenious contrivance 
which let fall a tin tray. He only tried it one 
morning, for the effect nearly frightened him 
to death, Forgetting his contrivance he 
rushed to the window shouting '* Police " and 
11 Murder n when the tray fell. He was 
completely unnerved by the process. He 
then fixed his invention to tilt a small mug 
of cold water on his head, despite the protests 
of hLs landlady, who objected to the wet 
pillows. His rooted objection to cold water 
was largely responsible for the success of 
this arrangement , and for twelve months his 
attendance was exemplary* Then he married 
and depended on his better half to awaken 
him. To make doubly sure on one special 
occasion he set the cold water alarum, but 
he had forgotten that his wife slept on the 
side where the bracket was fixed. He woke 

the next morning 
right enough, but he 
had some difficulty 
in accounting for 
certain scratches on 
his face which his 
colleagu es averred 
were not there the 
previous night. 

Much more might 
be written, but per- 
haps the foregoing 
will show that the 
prosaic work of the 
Post Office has a 
lighter side. 



** HE HAD FGROOTTEN THAT HIS WIFE SLEPT 

OK THE SIDE WHERE THE BRACKET WAS 

FIXED/' 



by Google 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




SCANDALOUS ! 

RICHARD MARSH. 

Illustrated by Treyer Evans. 




m^um 




a pencil of 



"Hotel de lOct'an, 

11 Dunkerque. 
EAR MISS HUBERT,— I 
have stolen an overcoat/* 

Having read as tar as this 
Miss Hubert lowered the 
sheet ol paper she was 
holding to examine the letter 
again. It was written with 
some kind, on greyish white 
paper, which was so common that she did 
not remember to have ever • seen anything 
quite so common before. As the pencil 
which had been used was a coloured one— 
apparently a sort of flesh colour— and the 
handwriting so bad that it could be correctly 
described as a il scrawl/' the result was that 
the whole thing was almost undecipherable. 
" Who is this writing to me ? It is to me*" 
She once more referred to the envelope — 
for about the dozenth time— to make sure. 
The address on the envelope which had 
contained the letter she was reading was as 
illegible as the epistle it contained. So far 
as she could make out it was ** Miss Ethel 
Hubert, Pleasant Prospect, Eastbourne." 
Pleasant Prospect was the name of the 
boarding-house at which she had stopped 
when on a visit to Eastbourne the previous 
summer. It seemed that the letter had been 
delivered at Pleasant Prospect only a few 
days ago, months after she had left, and 
had been obligingly enclosed by the proprietor 

Digitized by G* 



in one of his own envelopes and sent on to 
her at once. 

She set herself to recommence its perusal. 

'* Dear Miss Hubert, — I have stolen an 
overcoat, I am wearing it now." 

* l I cannot conceive,' ' she paused to tell 
herself, " how anyone who had such a con- 
fession to make should have written to me*" 

^ I found it in the trenches/* the writer 
continued, " so stole it at sight. If you 
had been as wet as I was, and as cold, 
you would have done the same — to say 
nothing of my own overcoat being nothing but 
a wreck. I am a junior captain in the 22nd 
Surrey Rifles* We were ordered to occupy 
the trench just vacated by the 14th "Sussex, 
and, as I have said, almost directly we got 
in my eyes fell on an overcoat, which I 
annexed. Then a splinter from a £ Jack 
Johnson ' cut my cheek — rather a nasty gash 
it was — then I got sick-listed, and here I 
am, going back to the game to-morrow. 
For the first time this afternoon as ever was 
I explored the inside pocket of someone 
else's overcoat, and found the envelope 
which you will get with this. You will see 
it has been addressed to you* So I am 
sending it on, One day, perhaps, you will 
tell me if it reached you,— Yours truly, J. 
G. Dellchamber. (Horn? address, Captain 
J. G. BeHchamber, Naval and Military 
Club,)" 

Having read the letter ta a close , Ethel 
Original from 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



SCANDALOUS ! 



i73 



Hubert placed it on the table by which she 
was seated, and gave a sort of gasp. 

" That is the most extraordinary docu- 
ment " — she told herself — " I ever came 
across. I hardly dare to open it. What a 
curious-looking envelope ! " 

It was unusually long and narrow. Its 
original colour was uncertain. It might have 
been laid in a pool of oozy mud and left 
there to soak. 

" What's that written in the top left-hand 
corner ? " She called in the aid of a reading- 
glass. " It looks like ' Please post if found ' 
— that suggests an Irishman. I don't see 
how it could have been posted if it hadn't 
been found. Same address : ' Miss Ethel 
Hubert, Pleasant Prospect, Eastbourne.' That 
seems to suggest that it is from someone 
I met at Eastbourne. Now, who was there 
that I met at Eastbourne on whom I made 
such an impression that he felt drawn to 
write to me, even in the trenches ? I can 
think of nothing male. The only persons in 
whom I took the slightest interest were the 
Borrowdale girls, and I've seen — and heard 
— plenty of them since. This person seems 
to have supposed that my only address was 
at Pleasant Prospect ; anyhow, he doesn't 
seem to have been acquainted with any 
other, so he couldn't have known much about 
me. Perhaps if I look inside " 

She looked inside. There were several 
sheets of thin foreign note-paper, which had 
suffered with the envelope. They were 
closely covered with thick, sprawling hand- 
writing, which probably owed its being to a 
broad-nibbed pen. 

With difficulty she made out what the 
writer said, pausing, now and then, to call 
in the aid of the reading-glass. The very first 
words caused her to prick up her ears — by 
the way, pretty little pink ones, set close to 
her head, they were. 

" Dear Miss Hubert," the letter began. 
11 Do you remember that day on Beachy 
Head ? " 

" Beachy Head ? " She stopped for a 

moment to think. " Can it be ? " She 

slightly changed colour ; she was one of 
those young women to whom a flush gives 

an air of charm. " I do believe " She 

did not say what she believed, but, flushing 
a little more, went on. 

" I wonder ! How long ago was it ? 
This is winter, i the stormy winds do blow/ 
and * the rain it raineth every day.' That 
was when July was at its loveliest and best. 
What weather ! Don't you remember ? 
You must ! Not a cloud in the sky, a breeze 



whispering secrets, the air so clear ! Do 
you remember how we discussed the question 
of how far we could really see across the 
briny ? I know we differed — was it five 
miles you said, or was it fifty ? Do you 
remember ? I do ; I remember everything, 
every moment, every word. I am prepared 
to enter for an examination on the subject 
of what we talked about, and to back myself 
to pass with honours. What is more, I 
could describe — to the examiner's satis- 
faction — how you said each blessed thing. 
Do you remember anything I said ? I 
wonder. I like, as I sit here, in this cheery 
trench, with the rain coming down in 
bucketfuls, and the guns boom - boom - 
booming — they boom in all sorts of different 
keys like a blaring lunatic orchestra, out of 
time and out of tune — I'll begin that sentence 
again. I like, I say, to think that you do 
remember something — O lady with the big 
child's eyes. 

" I remember — I am going to tell you some 
of the things which I remember ; perhaps if 
I were nearer I shouldn't dare. But since 
this concoction may never reach you — and, 
anyhow, we shall probably never meet 
again — I take my courage in both hands and 
write boldly, like a man. I remember how 
sweet I thought you looked the first time 
you swam into my ken — ' swam into my 
ken ' is a good phrase, isn't it ? I hope it's 
right. I lay on the tussocky grass within a 
hundred feet of the signalling-station ; you 
paused at the edge of the cliff, looking down 
at the new lighthouse far below. The sight 
of you set me quivering. I am one of those 
persons who cannot look down from a height ; 
the thought of what might happen if you 
went a step too far, or the edge of the cliff 
gave way — the cliff is always falling away 
at Beachy Head — rendered it difficult even 
for me to breathe. What a relief it was 
when you moved farther from the edge ! 

" I did not behave well ; I behaved badly. 
You moved along the cliff towards Birling 
Gap ; I rose from the grass and followed 
you — yes, I intentionally followed you. I 
meant to speak to you if I got a chance — 
and to make a chance if one didn't come my 
way. 

" There, I have confessed ! I am a 
bounder — you can say it if you please. I 
have been taught that only a bounder takes 
•advantage of a lady being alone to force on 
her his conversation. I forced my con- 
versation upon you — and you were very 
much alone. I don't care. I ask your 
pardon on my bended knees ; but if the 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



174 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE, 



occasion recurred I'd do it again ! Thai's 
frank ; so now you know, 

" I can't exactly say that a chance did 
come my way — but I made one. Do you 
remember how I did it ? Call me brazen- 
faced ! I took my hat off — when you were 
at your loneliest, there wasn't another 
soul in sight — marched straight up to 
you, and said 7 £ I wish you wouldn't 
walk so dose to the cliff-' 

" I doubt if , till that moment, you 
had been conscious— shall I say, of my 
propinquity ? It's a horrid word. You 
stopped — -flushed— I had startled you. I 
knew 1 ought to be kicked, * I beg your 
pardon ; what did you say ? ' you asked. 
I stuck to my guns — though all the time 
I knew what I deserved- ' I said/ I 
repeated, ' that I should be glad if you 
would not go so close to the edge of the 
cliff.' You seemed amazed, ' I don't in 
the least understand what you mean,' 
You had just the right kind of voice — I 
noticed that — everything about you was 
just right. I have such a hoarse, husky 
voice myself that you can't think what 
a relief it is to hear real music pro- 
ceeding from the Jips of a woman, I 



tried to explain haltingly* With what a 
perfect air you listened ! You put me in my 
place, All at once there came into your 
eyes, round your lips, all over you, the dawn 
of a smile. You became amused; you even 
laughed— just a tiny little ripple of mirth. 




'DEAR MISS HUBERT/ THE LETTER BEGAN, ' DO YOU REMEMBER THAT DAY ON BEACKY HEAD? 

*J by LjOOgle UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



SCANDALOUS ! 



i75 



You told me you did not suffer from dizziness 
yourself ; that height — the edge of a cliff, of 
a precipice — made no difference. Presently, 
before I knew it, as in a dream, we were 
walking side by side — and we were talking. 
You told me that you had done some serious 
climbing — the different parts of the world in 
which it had been done — and I told you — 
what did I tell you ? Do you remember ? 
I wonder." 

She put the letter down ; perhaps that 
was because her hands were just a little 
tremulous — even her lips seemed to quiver. 
There was something odd about her eyes, as 
if something sparkled in the corners. Her 
cheeks were flushed. She who prided herself 
on her insusceptibility to the feelings which 
are apt to playjbavoc with others, all at once 
found herself a" prey to emotions which she 
did not even dare to try to understand. 

Did she remember ? the writer asked. 
Could she ever forget ? How it all came 
back to her ! " Hoarse and husky " did he 
call his voice ? How absurd ! It was certainly 
neither its hoarseness nor its huskiness which 
had had such a magnetic effect upon her, 
filling her with such a sense of comfortable 
ease, causing her — far from snubbing him — to 
fall in at his side. 

What did that ridiculous, yet amazing, 
letter say next ? 

" We walked two miles without a break — 
either in the conversation or the pace. 
I asked when we reached the Gap if you 
wouldn't like to go down and look at the 
sea. You did not say we had been doing 
that all the while, you just went with me 
down the broken path on to the sand. 

44 We found a place on the beach — after 
all, there was not much sand — fairly com- 
fortable — at least, we didn't notice it wasn't 
— and there we stayed. I'll dare you to 
say how long we stayed." 

The challenge frightened her — even staring 
up in those parti-coloured, sprawling 
characters from that mud-stained paper. 
How long had they stayed ? 

" You did not want to have any tea— at 
least, you said so ; you said it was absurd 
to talk of having tea at such an hour ; that 
you had miles and miles to walk and it was 
near the dinner hour. You would be 
frightfully late. ' Very well,' I said, ' that's 
obvious. We'll have no tea— dinner instead.' 
You were amazed, shocked — I believe you 
were even horrified — to say nothing of being 
frightened. But we had dinner all the same, 
under the porch of the hotel which stands 
close to the top of the broken path — you and 



I together. I don't know what we had for 
dinner, whether the meal was good or bad ; 
you were on one side of the table and I on 
the other — that's all I know. And we talked 
and laughed, and somewhere, I believe, in 
the back of your mind, you were wondering 
all the while how on earth you would get 
home. 

" You walked home — five miles over the 
cliffs! 

" There are some things which seem too 
sacred to speak about — that walk is one of 
them. The stars were shining by the time 
we got to Beachy Head, the moon was up 
by the time we had dropped down to the 
town. You remember our last resting-place 
upon the grass ; the sort of constraint which 
came down upon us and tied our tongues ? 
In some strange, subtle way something hap- 
pened — and we both were changed. The 
rest of the way we were under a cloud of 
silence ; the capacity for speech seemed to 
have left us. I said good-bye to you at the 
Wish Tower — and the day was done. 

" It was only when I turned on to the 
path when you had gone, and strolled back 
towards Beachy Head beside the sea, that 
it occurred to me that I had never asked 
your name, and that you did not know mine. 
For all I could tell you had vanished into 
the unknown out of which you had come. 
For two days I never saw you. On the 
morning of the third I was standing with 
the crowd listening to the band. You came 
along the Promenade with a strange young 
woman on either side. You never glanced 
my way ; I suppose no inward monitor told 
you I was there — you could hardly have 
forgotten me already. I shadowed you 
again ; I followed till all three of you turned 
into a house on the Grand Parade. There 
were large gilt letters on the front — a name 
— Pleasant Prospect. A porter was standing 
at the door. I presented him with half a 
crown, and asked what were the names of 
the young ladies who had just gone in. 
Only one sticks in my mind — yours. You 
were the one in. the centre, with a Miss 
Somebody on either side. You, he said, 
were Miss Ethel Hubert. 

" That afternoon I left Eastbourne. I 
was a soldier — recently retired ; a little sick, 
to speak the truth, with the slowness of 
promotion. Then came the war ; in a trice 
I was a soldier again. I was in France with 
the first lot of troops sent out from England. 
I have been here ever since, fighting all the 
while ; ages it seems. On the whole, I like 
the life as well apraljfil have ever known; 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



176 



THE, STRAND MAGAZINE. 



I am fighting for what England has always 
fought — for freedom, the right to live, to 
call one's soul one's own — and I have won 
promotion. 

" I think that every day since that day I 
have thought of you. You will take this to 
be exaggeration ; I assure you it is not. 
I can honestly declare that, to the best of 
my knowledge and belief, I never gave a 
woman a second thought — seriously — until, 
that afternoon, to repeat my own phrase, 
4 you swam into my ken.' And you have 
never swum out of it again — and you never 
will. I have tried, over and over again, 
day and night, to get into communica- 
tion with you — and I know I have failed. 
Now here I am, in the trenches, in the wet 
and cold, and general discomfort — to which 
I have become case-hardened — writing to 
you — or, rather, trying to write, because my 
ink is half water — for the first time and the 
las 4 , asking myself if it is possible to recall 
to your memory that day. I have had a 
bit of a wound. An ugly splinter from a 
* Black Maria ' — that's a piece of ordnance 
which vomits forth strange missiles — has 
played such mischief with my thigh that I 
can hardly walk. When the men with the 
stretcher come they'll hale me off to hospital. 
Nothing has been seen or heard of therti for 
the last couple of days, so perhaps they will 
never come. What does it matter ? I am 
probably quite as comfortable here. I don't 
want to be out of the fun. 

" You did not tell me in so many words, 
but you gave me to understand — that day — 
that you had no entanglements with anything 
male. It is possible that since then you have 
become engaged ; if so, tear this up ; or 
show it to the man — and smile ; and he will 
smile with you. Lucky dog ! 

" But if you are still — unattached, know, 
as the man said in the play falsely — I say 
truly — that you, the acquaintance of a day, 
the dream which I have never ceased to dream, 
are the first woman I have ever loved — the 
only Avoman — the first and the last. 

" Do you think that is a silly confession for 
a man to make — a man situated as I am ? 
Shall I tell you why I made it ? One reason ? 
Because I am tired of keeping the secret to 
myself — so I whisper it to you. — Your very 
faithful, obedient, devoted lover, David 
Carpenter." 

That was the end of the letter. 

It was a fact which she seemed to find it 
difficult to realize ; sitting with it held in 
both her hands, staring at it, as if in search 
of something which she thought she might 



have missed. Then, suddenly, something 
came rushing to her eyes. She let the sheets 
of paper slip from her fingers ; her head 
dropped forward ; with her face pillowed on 
her arms she was the victim of emotions at 
whose very existence she had scoffed. The 
most unsentimental person in the world, she 
had never behaved like that before. 

Hers was the oddest situation. She told 
herself a dozen times a day that one could 
hardly conceive of One more curious. During 
the days which followed she moved as one 
in a dream ; borne this way and that by 
sensations which she would have found it 
hard to explain. Her married sisters, when 
they came to stop with her, always said that 
they could not understand how she possibly 
could live alone. They wereyapt to be quite 
frank upon the subject, as sisters are. Ada, 
the eldest, on more than one occasion, put 
the family point of view. 

" It isn't as though you really were an 
old maid," she would explain ; '" after all, 
you are still only thirty-two — nowadays 
lots of women marry after they are ihirty- 
two, and think themselves young. And really, 
you know, Ethel, there are times when you 
look young. Mrs. Norris only the other day, 
when I told her how old you were, assured me 
that she would never have taken you for a day 
more than twenty-seven. Look how you're 
flushing now — it's absurd." 

Ada — who was Mrs. Paget — came to stop 
with Ethel a few days after she had received 
the letter. Ethel, if the thing had been 
possible, would have put her off ; but she did 
not see how it could be done. She was so 
conscious of her extraordinary mental, moral, 
and physical condition that she would have 
given more than a trifle to have been able to 
avoid her sister's eyes. 

Mrs. Paget was to be her visitor for at least 
a week. She had not been in the house a 
couple of hours when she commented on one 
strange fact. 

" I can't think what's happened to you, 
Ethel ; you look as if you had grown at least 
half-a-dozen years younger. I said as much 
to Jane." 

So already her sister was talking her over 
with her elderly maid ; a deeper flush prob- 
ably made her look younger still. 

" I am very sorry, Ada," she explained, 
" but the weather has been so fine lately, 
and I've been taking so much exercise, that 
I expect that's it." 

Only a few days afterwards something did 
happen. A letter lay on the table when 
Ethel came down to breakfast — which had 

IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



SCANDALOUS f 



n\ 



IJ7 




WITH HER FACE PILLOWED ON HER ARMS SHE WAS THE VICTIM OF EMOTIONS AT WHOSE 

VERY EXISTENCE SHE HAD SCOFFED/' 



again been readdressed from Pleasant Pros- 
pect, Jane j the handmaiden, who had passed 
a large part of her life in Mrs, Hubert's ser- 
vice, and who, at that lady's decease, had 
been transferred to her youngest daughter, 
commented on the presence of the letter with 
the freedom of an old domestic. 

"It seems strange , Miss Ethel, that they 
should still be sending letters on to you from 
Eastbourne j considering what a long time it 
is since you were there." 

'* Yes, Jane ; it does seem rather strange, 
I — I haven't the least idea who it's from." 

She had not. The communication was in 
a blue envelope, whose very tint suggested 
to Miss Hubert the unusual, it was so unlike 
the envelopes she generally received. Eager 
though she was to learn what it contained, 
she studiously refrained from opening it 
while Jane's keen eyes were on her, lest its 
contents should he of a kind which would 
cause her demeanour to convey information 
to the maid which she would rather keep to 



herself. In her own way Jane was as sharp- 
eyed as Mrs* Paget, 

" That's a lawyers letter, that's what 
that is T Miss Ethel,'' she observed, lingering 
to perform various unnecessary offices. 
,£ I've seen them before. I suppose you're 
not owing anyone a bill ? IT 

" Jane ! What do you mean ? What a 
thing for you to say ! ,1 

ci Well, Miss Ethel, I was only thinking 
that you might have overlooked some idling, 
and one of those lawyers was sending it on, 
I can see that the sight of the envelope upsets 
you," 

The statement was so true that Miss 
Hubert was rendered almost incapable of 
putting the speaker in her place. She only 
did it with an effort — and then not effectively, 

11 Really, Jane, you go too far. I can't 
allow you to talk to me like that. Can I 
not have a letter without its being remarked 
on bv you? Please go now; I have every- 
thing I want'NQ 1 ™ 

"IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



i 7 8 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



Miss Hubert did not feel much more 
comfortable even when Jane had gone. 
The idea that all the eyes of the world were 
on her was growing of late into a sort of 
monomania ; as though the presence of that 
" secret " in the secret drawer of the bureau 
upstairs was suspected by all and sundry, 
who, in consequence, were on tiptoe to dis- 
cover what it meant. The notion that the 
readdressed blue envelope might have some 
further connection with the " secret " was 
almost an awful one to her. 

Even when assured of privacy, a perceptible 
period of time elapsed before she opened the 
envelope. Although no longer afraid of 
unwelcome eyes, she seemed to be in a 
nervous dread of something ; so that when, 
with tremulous fingers, she had opened the 
envelope and withdrawn the sheet of blue 
commercial paper it contained, she had to 
lay the letter down upon the table until she 
felt sufficiently mistress of herself to read it. 

When she did read it her worst forebodings 
were more than fulfilled ; compared to it 
the " secret " in the bureau, in a sense, was 
as nothing. According to the heading on 
the letter-paper, it came from a firm of 
lawyers in Lincoln's Inn Fields. It ran : — 

41 Dear Madam, — We have to advise 
you that our late client, David Carpenter, 
of 65, Arlington Street, London, Major 
in the 43rd British Rifles, has left you 
his sole residuary legatee. His testamentary 
dispositions, owing to circumstances over 
which he seems to have had no control, were 
of an informal and unusual kind, but are 
perfectly sound and valid. Our Mr. Pettigrew 
will have pleasure in waiting on you at any 
time you may appoint, to explain to you 
what they are ; or we shall be very happy to 
see you here. 

" We may mention that, so far as at present 
can be ascertained, the property to which 
you have become entitled may be valued 
roughly at some thirty thousand pounds ; 
probably rather over than under. 

" Awaiting your instructions, and holding 
ourselves always at your service,— We are, 
madam, your obedient servants, Pettigrew, 
Harding, and Baines." 

That Miss Hubert did not master the 
meaning of this epistle on the first perusal 
was perhaps not strange ; to be candid, the 
already sufficiently unstrung lady was so 
startled that it took her breath away. A 
second reading was not much better — or a 
third ; they left her gasping. 

What did the communication signify ? 
What it said ? The presumption was not 



unreasonable. Then, in that case, she was 
an heiress, the possessor of something in the 
neighbourhood of thirty thousand pouncfe. 

The first feeling it conveyed to her mind 
was characteristic ; in that event she cer- 
tainly would not be able to conceal the fact 
from Ada, or from anyone. The whole 
truth would be out. She would have to 
admit that she had allowed an entire stranger 
to scrape an acquaintance with her ; that 
she had suffered him to continue in her 
society on the footing, not only of an acquaint- 
ance, but of a familiar friend, sharing with 
him an expensive meal — she happened to 
have noticed the bill — for which he had paid ; 
walking with him afterwards, in the darkness, 
over miles of lonely country — there had 
been passages in that walk of which she 
scarcely dared to think even in the silent 
watches of the night. What would people 
think— especially the family — when the truth 
was told, particularly in the light of this 
astounding communication from Messrs. 
Pettigrew, Harding, and Baines ? 

Would they not draw the worst con- 
clusion — make matters out worse than they 
really were ? Might they not take it for 
granted — such is the corruptness of human 
nature — that a perfect stranger would not 
leave her thirty thousand pounds for nothing ? 
In some shape it must represent value received. 
At the thought of it Miss Hubert hid her 
face for shame. 

Was she to go through life branded as a 
woman who had wheedled a fortune, by 
means known only to herself, out of a chance 
acquaintance, the companion of only a few 
hours ? 

It was only after she had contemplated 
the uncomfortable possibilities which the 
situation entailed on her that she became 
alive to another point of view. Obviously, 
if she had inherited a fortune, the testator 
could be no longer with the living — Major 
David Carpenter must be dead. It was not 
expressly stated in the letter, but the infer- 
ence was, clearly, that he had been killed 
in fighting for his country. She recalled — 
how vividly ! — the passage in the letter which 
Captain Bellchamber found in the pocket 
of the overcoat which he had stolen — where 
Major Carpenter referred to the " splinter " 
from a " Black Maria " which had played 
such havoc with his thigh. He was then 
waiting for the men with the stretcher to 
carry him to hospital — the men who were 
overdue. Had they never come ? or arrived 
too late ? or had he died in hospital ? Con- 
templation^ jftfeMfi print of view affected 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



SCANDALOUS ! 



179 



Miss Hubert much more than the other. 
What did a fortune matter, after all, compared 
to the fact that he was dead ? It was 
ridiculous — she was sure that Ada would 
say so; beyond the bounds of reason — that 
was a matter on which the family would be 
agreed. But the thought that the man who 
had come into her life like a flashlight, and 
out again, was among the great army of those 
who had died for King and country shook 
her to the foundations of her being. Nor 
was the position improved hy the reflection 
that in her selfish dread foT what she deemed 
her reputation it had not occurred to hpr to 



think of him at a]]- What did the thirty 
thousand pounds matter ? What did it 
matter what they thought of her? What 
did anything matter — if he was dead ? 

His letter had been her greatest treasure* 
That was the real reason why she had locked 
it in her secret hiding-place ; why she had 
kept its very existence secret. She knew 
it now. She had been a dreamer of dreams, 
although she had been so unwilling to admit 
it even to herself — and now all the glory, the 
radiance, the happiness for which the dreams 
had stood was dead. 

Because Ethel Hubert was crying as she 
had never cried in all her life she did not 
hear that someone was tapping at the door— 
someone who presently came in — Jane, 

*' Why, Miss Ethel/' exclaimed the maid, 
astonished at the spectacle which her mistress 
presented, s( whatever is there wrong ? " 




THERE S A TELEGRAM, MISS. I THOUGHT YOU MIGHT LIKE TO SEE IT. I DO HOPE THERE S 

NO MORE BAD NEWS." 



by 



UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



i8o 



THE ST&ANQ MAGAZINE. 



Miss Hubert, caught unawares, looked 
round with an attempt at anger which was 
possibly designed to conceal the fact that 
her features were discoloured by her flooding 
tears. 

" Jane ! " she gasped — it was not easy 
for her just then to speak. " How dare you 
come into my room without knocking ? " 

Jane, legitimately aggrieved, was not slow 
in saying so. 

" Without knocking ? " she replied. " Miss 
Ethel, however can you say so ? I am sure 
I knocked quite loud." 

" I didn't hear you," sobbed the lady. " I 
didn't tell you you might come in. I never 
said a word." 

" No, miss, you didn't ; but it's the first 
time I've learned that I am to wait to be told 
to come in after knocking. There's a tele- 
gram, miss. I thought you might like to 
see it. I do hope there's no more bad 
news." 

The maid held out the familiar buff 
envelope ; the mistress drew back, as from 
something dangerous. 

" Oh, Jane," she cried, " what can it 
be ? " 

" I'm sure, miss, I don't know. Can it 
have been sent on, miss, from Eastbourne, 
like the letter you had this morning ? " 

Had it not been that, in that moment of 
tragedy, her sense of dignity was too strong, 
she might almost have been disposed to ask 
Jane to open the envelope herself and 
acquaint her with its contents, breaking them 
gently. Her reluctance was so obvious that 
Jane had to use pressure. 

" Hadn't you better see what it's about, 
miss ? The boy's waiting to see if there's 
an answer." 

The troubled lady, taking the buff-coloured 
envelope in her unwilling fingers, stared at 
the pink slip of paper it had contained as if 
unable to decipher the words which were on 
it. They conveyed no meaning to her con- 
fused intelligence when she did. 

" Letter posted to you yesterday written 
under extraordinary misunderstanding. Please 
consider it cancelled. Full explanation fol- 
lows. — Pettigrew, Harding, and Baines." 

That was the telegram. It was no wonder- 
if Miss Hubert, in her then condition, regarded 
it as if it were so much double Dutch. In her 
calmest, clearest moments she might have been 
excused for finding its meaning a little hard 
to follow. 

Left alone with the sheet of pink tissue; 
Miss Hubert still could not make head or 
tail of it. Her life had hitherto been so 

Dioitiz lOylc 



uneventful, each day being so like another, 
nothing happening to ruffle her tranquil 
existence — this sudden rush of the unusual 
had a more confusing effect upon her faculties 
than she would have thought was possible. 
That amazing afternoon upon the downs had 
always been somewhere at the back of her 
mind ; she had always been conscious that 
it was there. It was the great landmark 
from which she dated all sorts of events. 
To use another metaphor, it was the magic 
philtre which leavened and changed the 
whole of her existence. And then, just as 
she was trying to tell herself that the memory 
of it was growing less, there had come those 
two letters — the one introducing the other. 
Since their appearance the world for her 
had been recreated. Earth, sea, and sky had 
assumed different hues. Familiar scenes were 
changed ; even the people she knew best had 
been transformed — or perhaps she saw them 
through different eyes. Certainly something 
very strange had happened. So far as she 
remembered — and her memory was a good 
one — nothing exciting had happened in the 
whole of her life until, first, that adven- 
ture on the cliff, and then, when the 
excitement of that was passing away, came 
the letters. 

They it was which had really done it, 
especially the one from Major David 
Carpenter. She had never been the same 
woman since his letter came — the full, frank, 
strange confession of what some mysterious 
influence had caused him to feel for her. 
It was true, what Ada had accused her of 
— she not only looked younger, she felt it. 
Rejuvenation, indeed, had played such 
pranks with her that it had even turned her 
head ; destroyed that perfect mental balance 
on which she had prided herself ; caused her, 
indeed, to lose her sense of proper feminine 
dignity and well-bred self-possession. Just 
as she was making a sincere attempt to 
regain what she regarded as her proper 
mental equilibrium had come the terse 
communication from Messrs. Pettigrew, 
Harding, and Baines — and right on top of 
that the bewildering telegram. Under such 
a stress of agitating events what was a 
forlorn, helpless woman to do ? That was 
not an inquiry which she put to herself in 
so many words, but she was only too conscious 
that it was one which imperatively called 
for a reply. And Jane had gone down to 
tell the boy who had brought the message 
that there was no answer. Had she not 
better run after him and tell him there was ? 
Had she not better telegraph to Ada and 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



SCANDALOUS ! 



1S1 



ask for her assistance ? That might neces- 
sitate her humbling herself, but, after all, 
her eldest sister was hard-headed , and at 
bottom not so hard-hearted as she chose 
to pretend ; she might suggest something. 
Or should she wire to those lawyer men to 
say that she was coming up by the very 
next train fo ■ the promised explanation, for 
which she found it impossible to wait. 

She had almost made up her mind that 
the latter course was the one she would 
pursue, when there came a knocking at the 
front door which so startled her that^ as she 
stood with her hands pressed to her side, 
she was almost convinced that it shook the 
house. She was not accustomed to have 
people knock like that at her front door. 
The very violence of the onslaught suggested 
a further incursion into the realms of the 
unusual. \\ hat fresh shock was threatening? 

Jane was answering the summons ; she 
could hear her opening the front doon A 
voice addressed her; one which, though it 
was not unduly raised, had such an odd, 
penetrating power that what was said was 
distinctly audible upstairs — but then, only 
one flight of stairs led up to the sitting- 
rocm, and the front door was just at the 
foot. 

^ Does Miss Ethe! Hubert live here ? " 

Somehow — there must he — it certainly 
was — what was it which set the listening 
woman in such a state of tremblement ? 
She heard Jane's reply* 

'* Yes, sir ; she does. What name shall 
I say ? " 

There was momentary silence, as if the 
caller were hesitating what to say. Then the 
same masculine voice was heard even more 
distinctly than at first : — 

" Major David Carpenter," 



The door of Miss Hubert's sitting-room 
was opened more rapidly, probably, than it 
had ever been before ; a feminine figure 
went fluttering out, rushed down the stairs, 
andj before the astounded Jane had the 
faintest notion of what was about to happen, 
her mistress— w horn she had always regarded 
as the pink of lady- like propriety — was in 
the callers arms. She was crying in his 
arms, and he — tell it net in Gath ! — was 
using a method of his own to wipe away her 
tears. 

Possibly, if Jane had been aware that this 
was only the second occasion on which these 
two persons had met, and that they had 
never been introduced to each other at all t 
she might have regarded the whole episode 
as inconceivably scandalous. At any rate. 
Miss Hubert did not have to wait for an 
explanation of Major David Carpenter's 
letter ; of hew the lawyers had been rather 
in advance of facts in taking his decease for 
granted j of the rather vaguely- worded 
telegram ; she did net, we say, have to 
wait for an explanation of these things till 
the arrival of Messrs. Pcttigrew, Harding, 
and Haines's promised further comrnuni ca- 
tion, which reached her in due course of post. 
The gentleman went with the lady to her 
sitting-room and furnished her with all the 
necessary explanations there and then, 

Major David Carpenter was married to 
Miss Ethel Hubert only the other day. So 
far, neither the bride nor bridegroom has 
allowed a hint to escape which might suggest 
what a romantic love story theirs has really 
been. Possibly they are a trifle afraid that 
what they regard as romance, other people 
might view from a standpoint of their own. 
Some folks have their own notions of what 
is scandalous. 





VERSITYOF MICHIGAf 



Pages From 
My Life. 



®y 




HILDA 
TREVELYAN 



HE elusiveness of fleeting 
memories makes me 
nervous of attempt- 
ing to record my 
early years. All 
that I seem to see., when 
I lift the curtain lo peep 
at the youth we often so 
wishfully recall, is a 
plain, diminutive 
maiden, shy to a degree, 
anxious to be friends 
with anyone and every- 
one, but fearful of 
making advances. 

I do not think I en- 
joyed any great popu- 
larity among otheT girls. 
Games interested me 
very little, but dolls were 
my delight. Not because , 
like other girls, I liked to 
plavat little mother, dressing 
and undressing my " babies " 
at will, but because they were 
the only audience which seemed 
to appreciate mv earliest efforts 
to qualify for the profession I 
ultimately entered. 

Silently there my dollies would 
sit in a row on the chairs or couch , mute 
witnesses of the efforts of their tiny mis- 
tress, who loved - nothing better than to 
"make-believe" that she was one of the 
great actresses whose names she but vaguely 
knew. 

Digitized by \j009 Ic 





AS HOIRA, IN 

MARY," 
Photo, Btograph Studio, 



WHEN ABOUT THREE YEARS 
OLD, 

It has always seemed 

strange to me that > 

although I have never 

l>een able to trace a 

scrap of theatrical 

history in my family, 

I was born with a 

passion for acting, 

I must candidly 
confess, however , 
that my parents — 
my mother was 
French, my father a 
Devonian j while I am 
a Cockney by birth and, 
I may add, by inclination 
were by no means im- 
pressed with my play-acting 
eflorts. They did not regard 
them seriously. They loved me 
far too much to wish me to 
experience the slings and arrows 
of stage life , of w r hich, of course^ 
in my innocence I knew nothingj 
and packed me off to school— the Ursuline 
Convent, Upton — where I had to turn my 
serious attention to lessons. 

Judge of my delight, however, when I 
was allowed to take part in the little plays 
which th0rj(jBttol4E€rfri to get up. I was 

VERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



Lin i_e 



PAGES FROM MY LIFE. 



183 




HILDA TREVELYAN 
AND HER HUSBAND, SYDNEY 
BLOW, IN M THE LITTLE 
MINISTER." LADY BABJHE 
WAS HER FrRST BARRIE PART. 
Photo, bu LrtTtQfter, QIaa^w r 



always reciting, and when I 
could do so in some character 
my delight knew no bounds. 
It is scarcely surprising in 
the circumstances that the 
stage fever grew in 
intensity. 

My parents, finding 
their counsels did not 
prevail, ultimately 
agreed that I should 
try my luck in the 
theat re- 

Thus it came 
about that I went 
from the convent 
straight on to the 



stage. Of course, there is nothing very remarkable in that, for 
quite a number of actresses have come from convent schools. Still, 
it was rather a jump from the convent to musical comedy and the 
" fit-up " company with which I made my first appearance. 

I should have said that I went almost straight from 
the convent on to the stage, for after leaving school 
there was a brief and dismal period during which 
I haunted agents' offices. I did not know a soul in 
theat re land, and I was still in short frocks, If any- 
thing could have cured me of the stage fever, those 
wearisome quests for an engagement should have done 
so. Hour after hour, day afier day, I sat in agents' 
offices. No one seemed to take the slightest notice 
of the tiny individual who was burning to play great 
parts^ but who was too timid to make her voice heard, 
I was in despair. Then suddenly a brilliant idea 
occurred to me. I was too dowdy. My personal 
appearance did not attract attention like that of 

other girls. So I went out 
and bought a new 
hat, more suitable 
for a woman of 
v twrnty-five or 
Ny thirty than a 
\ girl of fifteen 
\ in s h o r t 
\ frocks. 
T h c n I 
re t ur n e d 
to the 
agent's 
office, 
"Good 
hea v e ns f 
' What's that?" 
I can almost 
hear him saying, 
as he stood look- 
ing at me, My 
object was 
gained, I had 
attracted hi* 
marked attend on* . 
Whether it was 
the ability which 
I said I possessed 
or the desire on 
his part to get rid 
of me, I cannot 
say. But I ulti- 
ma t el y walked 
from his office 
in the 




AS WENDY, IN 'PETER fM 

"IVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



I&4 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



knowledge that I was now a full-grown 
actress, engaged to appear in a *' fit-up" 
company — that is, a company that carries 
all its scenery > except footlights and curtains, 
about with it and plays on improvised stages 
in halls and concert-rooms. But I was very 
proud that I had made a real start, 

I remember on one occasion our stage was 
the cover of a huge corn-bin in the exchange 
of a small provincial town. The stairs were 
so narrow that we could not get the piano up* 
So it remained on the stairs and gave selections 
outside the hall while we performed inside. 

We started^ however, at a theatre, and I 
began my stage career with a speaking part. 
It was a very small part ? and I was very 
proud of it. Candour compels me to add that 
1 was not given this part because I had 





AS MAGGIE, IN " WHAT EVERY WOMAN KNOWS 
—HER FAVOURITE PARI, 
Photo. Rita ,i4r f hi. 



AS CINDERELLA, IN SIR J M. 
PLAY. 

Iholo. Rim Uartim. 

impressed the manager by my intelli- 
gence, but simply and solely because 
the only dress available for the tiU 
happened to fit me and nobody else. 
The girl who was cast for the part 
threw it upland as her clothes hap- 
pened to fit me I got my chance. It 
was hard work in those days, but 
I was very happy r simply because I 
had attained my heart's desire. 
1 suppose the first important step in my 
career was the engagement to play Lady 
Babbie m " The Little Minister " on tour, I 
might mention that I toured with the northern 
company, and thus had the very interesting 
experiencr* )f ploying (S The Little Minister ,: 



PAGES FROM MY LIFE. 



i85 



at Dundee, near Thrums, Kirriemuir, where 
Sir James Barrie was born. And never did 
I play to a more enthusiastic audience. 

One very amazing incident in connection 
with " The Little Minister " occurs to me 
at the moment. It will be remembered that 
in the character of Babbie I appear on the 
stage with bare feet. One night we were 
playing in a Scottish town. In one of the 
scenes with the Little Minister, when the hero 
came to the words, " I shall buy you a silk 
dress, black, with beads on it," the silence of 
the theatre was broken by a loud voice which 
cried :— L - 

" You'd better buy her a pair o' socks 
first!" 

At that time I did not, of course, imagine 
for one moment that Barrie characters would 
play such an important part ki my career. 
After the finish of the tour I appeared in 
a variety of parts, and the real turning- 
point came one Sunday night when I appeared 
in a play produced by the Stage Society, 
entitled " 'Op-o'-me-Thumb." It was such 
a hit that Sir George (then Mr.) Alexander 
put it on at the St. James's Theatre. My 
part as Moira with Sir John Hare in " Little 
Mary " followed, and then came a great event 
in my life when I undertook the role of Wendy 
in " Peter Pan." 

I first played Wendy at Christmas, 1904, 
and took up the part in many subsequent 
revivals. I suppose there is no character in 
modern play or pantomime which has such 
a fascination for children as Wendy, not 
even excepting Peter, and I still treasure 
the many love-letters I received from the 
" kiddies." What naive and charming epistles 
they are ! Turning them over as I write, I 
think the one which tickled me most was 
that from a little boy who wrote : — 

" I love you, Wendy ; how far can you 
climb up a tree ? " 

I am afraid his admiration would have 
been tinged with contempt had he discovered 
that Wendy only once tried to climb a tree 
and fell down after getting up about three feet. 

I had many invitations from youngsters 
5 visit them, but was obliged to decline, for 
here is little time for visiting when one is 

aying twelve performances a week and 
tactically living at the theatre. 

There was one occasion, however, when I 

roke my usual rule, and it was on account 

a letter addressed from 50A Street, 

! de Park, W. 

1 Dear Wendy," it ran, " I think you are 
; fully ripping. Will you come and have 

, with me on Tuesdav next at five o'clock ? 

Vol. HL-13. 



Mamma says you may teach me how to fly 
after tea. So do come. I do so want to 
fly. Yours truly, Jack. 

4< Pleas^ come in your nightgown." 

It was written in a childish, bold hand, 
and it was lying in an envelope on my 
dressing-table one night during the first 
season of " Peter Pan." 

I was so delighted with the letter that 
when Tuesday came I knocked at the door 

of 50A Street, Hyde Park, punctually 

at the appointed time. The front door, 
opened, and I heard a shrill voice crying out, 
11 1 do believe it's Wendy ! " 

I entered and a small, fair-haired boy ot 
six rushed to the door, but directly he saw 
a little lady in a long dress with a train, a 
toque of black fox, and really a frightfully 
fascinating stole, he took to his heels and 
fled. His mamma, who was going to allow 
me to teach Master Jack to fly after tea, 
received me. But the nursery tea was one 
of the saddest children's teas I've ever par- 
taken of. Jack kept his eyes on his bib. 
The latter was beautifully embroidered in 
red and blue with a motto, " Eager to Eat," 
which rather gave away the fact that Master 
Jack was fond of his food. But that tea- 
time no food passed Jack's lips and not a 
word would he speak. If only I had gone 
in the nightgown with my little bedroom 
slippers and my hair down, it would have 
been just as Jack had planned it. 

" But they wouldn't have allowed her on 
the bus," as Jack's mamma expressed it, 
when she tried to explain. But no. Explana- 
tions were useless. Jack would have none 
of me. I've been a tragedy in little Jack's 
life, I'm sure. It made me so sad. I've 
disillusioned Jack's belief in fairies, and it's 
been all my fault. 

To my mind a Barrie part is like nothing 
else in the world. And I most certainly enjoy 
playing " mothering " parts, like Cinders, 
in " A Kiss for Cinderella," which, I think, 
is the fifth important " mothering " character 
I have portrayed. 

There was Wendy, for instance, which I 
have played over eight hundred times — the 
sweet-natured, big-hearted little person who 
mothered everyone in " Peter Pan." Then 
there was Moira, who pulled the strings for 
everyone's benefit in " Little Mary." Maggie, 
in " What Every Woman Knows," was 
another Wendy sort of person, and even 
managed a stage crowd ; while as Gwennie 
Llewellyn I mothered everyone, including my 
mother, in the Wellsh play, " Little Miss 

LlewellUMIVERSITYOFMItHKAN 



i86 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE, 









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HILDA T REVEL YA-N AM) t;K KALI> 1'L MALKIKh 
DELIGHTFUL SCENES FROM "A Kiss FO 

I have sometimes been asked if I am 
fund of mothering or managing people off 
the stage as well as on it, I really do not 
think I am any more motherly by nature than 
the average woman is, or, at least, should be, 
Every woman has, or ought to have, the 
mothering instinct , which is one of the most 
beautiful parts of feminine nature. Of one 
thing I am certain, and that is that the most 
successful wives are those who mother their 
husbands. The strongest and most essenti- 
ally masculine men really thoroughly enjoy 
being managed occasionally. 

When talking of such parts, however. I 
am not forgetful of the many other plays in 
which I have appeared. sl A Chinese Honey- 
moon/' 1( A Single Man/ 5 (< Mrs. Dane's 
Defence/' " Trelawnev of the Wells," " 'Op-' 
o'-me-Thumb," " Peter's Mother," M Little 
Miss Llewellyn/ 1 *' The Schoolmistress/* and 
"Chains" — to mention a few. But no 
characters seem to have such a fascination 
for me as Lady Babbie, Wendy, Moira, 
Tweeny, in " The Admirable Crichton " ; 
Maggie Wvlie, in " What Every Woman 
Knows " ; Kate, in " The Twelve-Pound 
Look " ; and Cinders, 

There is subtle, indefinable charm about 
these characters. Speaking as an actress, 



IN ONE OF THE MOST 
R CINDERELLA. J ' 



they are so de- 
lightful that one 
slips into them as 
if into a very dear 
and cosy frock, 
and feels comfort- 
able and at home 
at once, 

M Wendy/* says 
Peter Pan, when 
lie comes into the 
Darlings 1 nursery 
in search of his 
shadow, lt Wendy, 
one girl is more use 
than twenty boys." 
And it is the girl- 
woman who, like 
Peter, never grows 
up that seems to 
tiring these charac- 
ters so near the 
hearts of women* 
The mothering 
ways of Cinder- 
ella .in *' A Kiss 
f or Cinderella/' 
whose motto, 
" Trust in the 
Lord ; every other 
person cash ! " is one of the shrewdest of 
her many shrewd sayings, are too delightful 
tor words. Her brave way of doing her 
11 little bit/' by looking after four children— 
one English, twp Allies, and one enemy ; the 
way she " does " for Bodie, because wealthier 
folk have " cut her off '' in war-time as a 
luxury ; her ambition to go on the stage, 
and the ultimate finding of her Prince Charm- 
ing in the policeman, all go to make a 
character the fascination of which might 
be compared to that of Wendy. 

Sammy was present at the first night 
of 1( A Kiss for Cinderella." Sammy is 
my black cat who always attends my first 
nights, and whom I have regarded for the last 
nine years as my mascot. He really seems 
to understand every word I say ? and although, 
of course, I cannot give his opinion of my 
Barrie parts, I am sure he would be very 
disappointed if I did not include him in this 
article. Hence the mention of Sammy* It 
has been suggested that he should make his 
dzbut as Cinderella's rat at Wyndham's ; 
hut Sammy is incorrigibly lazy and, so 
far as I can judge, prefers the quiet and ease 
of the fireside to strenuousness behind the 
footIipht'S r| 9 ma ' from 

ttrH^gh^ia^tfil FAMIfiAKK] AAJd Cinderella are 



PAGES FROM MY LIFE. 



187 




very dear to me, and I have the greatest 
affection for Tweeny in " The Admirable 
Crichton," I think I may say that Maggie 
Wylie, or, as she becomes later in the play, 
Maggie Shand, in " What Every Woman 
Knows/' is my favourite part, 

I remember an amusing incident, by the 
way, during the long run of *' What Every 
Woman Knows.' 1 My rival for my husband's 
affection has to say to me ; <c Oh, I dare say 
you are fond of him, too, but he and I were 
made for each 
other from the 
beginning of 
all time." 

One night, the 
actress having 
delivered this asser- 
tion y there came 
from some man in 
the audience the 
stentorian c o m- 
ment : — 

"I Aw'* think!" 

It upset me so 
much that I could 
scarcely go on, 

A part after my 
own heart, too, 
was Gwennie 
Llewellyn, in 
•'Little* Miss 
Llewellyn /' a play 
with which I em- 
barked on manage- 
ment in eon June- 
t i o n w r i t h Mr. 
Edmund Gwenn at 
the Vaude vil le 
Theatre four years 
ago. I first saw 
the play in Paris, 
and thought it 
would just suit me 
if it were adapted* 
Curiously enough, 
Mr. Gwenn saw it, 
too, and thought 

1 father's part, 

n o s Llewellyn, 

mid suit him. 

id when we were 

ered the play 

i at the same 

*e found we 

u 1 d get the 

ideville Theatre, 





it seemed as though fate had got everything 
read) for me to go into management. 

There had been Welsh operettas and Welsh 
plays in the past ; but in " Little Miss 
Llewellyn " we decided to present for the 
first time to the British public a real company 
of Welsh players. The locale was essentially 
Welsh, in order that there might be that 
keen differentiation between the ways of 
the Welsh in their country strongholds and 
the manners and customs of the Londoner, 

or .** f or e ign er/' 
as they call 
him* 

Many people 
thought that I, 
too, was Welsh, and 
perhaps, in the 
circumstances, the 
remark of one 
galleryite was ex- 
cusable, u Well/' 
he was overheard 
to say, "she's 
,\ Welsh, and she's 

been ashamed to 
own it before, and 
now she can't help 
herself." And it 
was another 
enthusiastic*' god" 
who paid the play 
a tribute by saying, 
M I like the piece, 
but I thought I 
should have seen 
her in a f comical J 
hat." Evidently 
he meant conical 
Welsh hat. 

And now what 
else can I tell you ? 
As I said in " Little 
Miss Llewellyn/' 
M As we are here to 
talk, let us talk, 
look you*' ' But talk, 
to be interesting; 
depends on the 
subject. In this 
case I fear it is in 
danger of becoming 
a bore. So let us 
pass to something 
else. After all, the 
play's the thing. 
Don't you think so? 













„ j 



by 



HILDA TREVELYAN IN PRIVATE Ugfig j p ^ | f fQ m 

nw,***^ UHIVERSITV OF MICHK 



Ihe 

CASTAWAYS. 



^ 



W. W. JACOBS. 

Illustrated by IV ill Owen, 





3 k &\ 



CHAPTER XI1L 
HE inspection of the yacht 
was so satisfactory that Car- 
stairs made up his mind on 
the spot, and for the next 
month* or two had many 
pleasant jaunts to South- 
ampton to mark progress. 
Members of the expedition spent the time 
in providing things for the voyage according 
to their several tastes ; the fact that Albert 
had laid in a stock of three mouth-organs 
and a tin whistle coming in for much adverse 
comment on the part of Mr. Biggs, 

The Starlight weighed anchor on a fine 
morning in early October. A light breeze 
and a slight touch of autumn in the air added 
to the enjoyment of the voyage rs, whose 
numbers were now increased by an un- 
necessarily good-looking young doctor named 
Maloney, and Miss Flack, a spinster of 
mature years and lifelong friend of Mrs. 
Jardine. Seated in little groups on deck, 
Mr, Carst airs' guests, idly watching the pass- 
ing craft, looked forward with some zest to a 
life of exciting but harmless adventure Thr 
doc tor 3 who had made several voyages , was 
pleased to find himself regarded as an 
authority on all things nautical, and was at 
once elevated to a position from which the 
other men sought in vain to remove him. 

li I should have thought the sea was the 
worst place in the world for a man of your 
profession/' remarked Knight, after listening 
to one or two episodes. 

The doctor stroked a very fine moustache, 
M Why ? " he inquired. 

£ No practice,' wns the reply. 
14 You're wrong/" said Maloney. " It's what 
I come to sea for. Suppose 1 was ashore 

Copyright. 1916, 



and you had got to lose a kg, say. Would 
you come to me ? " 

bk I would not,' 1 said Knight, bluntly- 

+h Exactly/' said Maloney, nodding. li But 
you've got no choice here. That's where 
I have you. If you get anything wrong 
with you ? you don't turn over the Medical 
Directory and pick out your man ; you 
come to me. And you can't upset my 
diagnosis. That's a great thing. That's u 
comforting thing/' 

11 For whom ? ' J inquired P*pIow, seriously, 

■* All of us/' said Maloney , lowering his 
voice as two of the ladies passed. " If you 
pass away because I treat you for muscular 
rheumatism by removing your appendix, 
it's much better for your peace of mind — tu 
say nothing of my own — you shouldn't know 
that but for a pardonable error you might 
have lived another fifty years." 

Mr. Peplow shuddered, t( Are you an 
Irishman ? " he inquired, thoughtfully. 

The other shook his head. " Not since 
my grandfather/' he replied. " When 1 
was born the brogue got mislaid. Besides, 
I am too serious-minded for an Irishman." 

" I never have any use for a doctor/* said 
Knight, casually j " but if I had I should 
choose a man of some age." 

"I'm just the right age/' said Maloney. 
" Thirty ; just young enough to be interest- 
ing, and just old enough to know how to.*' 

He strolled off with a smile and dropping 
into a chair between Miss Seacombe and 
Miss Blake, just vacated by Mrs. Jardine, at 
once proceeded to \ erify his statement. 

"Who shipped that chap?" demanded 
Knight ; turning to Pope. 

11 Car stairs, vvai the reply, u He said that 
hel>M^iS^H~ |i i€hF<tf J l bf cW l-G .^ J-4> I ly chap; knows 

by W. W. Jacobs 



THE CASTAWAYS. 



189 



his job, too. He's got a splendid lot of 
instruments ; I have seen them." 

" You'll see them again/' said Knight, 
solemnly. " Mark my words if you don't. 
What a romantic end to a useful and well- 
spent life, to be buried at sea a thousand 
miles from land ! " 

It was a matter for congratulation that 
when they emerged from the shelter of the 
Isle of Wight they found the Channel as 
smooth as the proverbial mill-pond. The 
evening air was bracing and just cool enough 
to make the change to the warm dining-room 
acceptable. Half-way through the meal 
Mr. Pope paid a heartfelt tribute to the cook, 
warmly seconded by Mr. Peplow. 

*' It must be a beautifully built ship," said 
Miss Flack ; " there is absolutely no motion." 

" And not at all stuffy," said Mrs. Jardine. 

" It is difficult to realize that we are at 
sea," said Pope, looking around. 

" It is a difficulty that time will solve," 
said the doctor. " I had the same difficulty 
myself once ; and twelve hours later I thought 
that I was in a boat-swing that fancied 
itself a roundabout." 

" Did it — did it upset your digestion ? " 
inquired Miss Flack, delicately. 

" It did not," said the. doctor. " It upset 
my head." 

"Vertigo," explained Pope, with a wise 
nod. 

" Edge of the fore-scuttle," corrected the 
doctor, " and one of the hands who was 
coming up at the time. He got a very inter- 
esting case of concussion. He'd have been 
in bed till the end of the voyage if the second 
mate hadn't taken the case out of my hands. 
He used a counter-irritant in the shape of 
two clumps on the head. I did think of 
sending an account of the case to the Lancet." 

Miss Flack looked mystified. " How inter- 
esting!" she murmured, and turned with 
some relief to help herself to trifle. 

The next two days passed with equal 
serenity, a condition of things for which, 
judging from their remarks, his gratified 
gruests seemed to hold Carstairs responsible. 

eading, conversation, and games made the 

me pass pleasantly enough, the devotion of 

r. Knight to law books of a singularly 

iinviting appearance calling for much 

rprised comment. It was whispered — 
the admiring Mrs. Ginnell — that he was 

ing to read for the Bar on his return to 
igland, but after one morning during which 
lot of silly people, including several old 
ough to know better, walked round and 
nd the ship in line for the pleasure of 



passing him on tip-toe and saying "H'sh/" 
as they approached, he threw up his studies 
in disgust. 

He awoke on the fourth day at sea to find 
his bunk out of the horizontal and a floor 
which was never in the same place for two 
seconds together. He shaved himself care- 
fully and, grinning with anticipation, went 
on deck. The fresh morning air, with a 
touch of rain in it, was delightful, but the 
sea was of a dirty brown and the sky overcast. 
The deck looked wet and desolate ; the bows 
rose and fell again with a resounding slap. 

" Dirty weather ? " he inquired of the 
boatswain, who was passing. 

" Not yet, sir," was the reply, " but I 
fancies as we shall get it in the Bay. If 
I was you, sir, I should eat all I. could stow 
away to-day." 

" Oh, I'm all right," said Knight, sharply. 
" I was thinking of the others — the ladies." 

Mr. Tarn nodded, and turned to gaze with 
some interest at Miss Mudge, who, appearing 
hastily from the companion, passed them in 
a series of little tottering runs. Between 
runs she stood swaying to and fro in an eff 01 1 
to regain her balance and gazing with much 
distaste at the tumbling seas. The boat- 
swain, with a deprecatory glance at Knight, 
stepped up to her and steadied her with a 
powerful arm about her waist. She turned 
with a faint scream. 

" All right," he said, reassuringly, " I've 
got you ; you're quite safe." 

" Safe ! " repeated Miss Mudge. " You're 
choking the life out of me. I thought the 
machinery had got hold of me." 

" I thought you was going to fall," said the 
boatswain, letting out a reef. " Is that- 
better ? " 

Miss Mudge's head dropped to his shoulder 
and her eyes half closed. He led her to a seat 
and sat down, still supporting her, until an 
angry bark from the bridge sent him about his 
business. Deprived of his support, moral 
and physical, the girl arose and, steering an 
erratic course for the companion, disappeared 
below. 

Seats at the breakfast-table began to empty 
before the conclusion of the performance. 
The dining-saloon had suddenly become stuffy 
and odorous, the smell of fried engine oil 
being particularly noticeable. Bulkheads 
creaked, and articles on the table became 
endowed with movement. 

" We shall have to have the fiddles rigged 
for lunch, I expect/' said Tollhurst. 

" There is a little bit of a sea on," said 
Pope, as he arose and assisted Mrs. Ginne "' 



190 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE* 



to the door. " Perhaps I 
had tetter help you to your 
cabin." 

The couple disappeared, 
followed with longing eyes 
bv Markharn. The under- 
stewards , jealous of his 
authority, watched him 
gloatingly. Pale of face and 
compressed of lip, he stuck 
to his post wondering whether 
he could endure to the end. 

4t 1 feel unwell; 1 said Car- 
stairs, rising suddenly, " and 

I don't care who knows it/' 
he added, looking at the 
grinning faces before him, 

II Mjirkham, you are feeling 
it, too. You had better get 
to your bunk. There will he 
quite enough left to — to look 
after — the survivors/' 

He vanished with some 
precipitancy, followed by the 
butler. Mrs, jardine, the only 
lady left, rose from her chair 
and with an undisturbed mien 
went off to the drawing 
room. The men went up to 
the smoke-room and lit 
cigarettes. Through the 
doorway on the leeward side 
they caught glimpses of 
white-topped seas scurrying 
past, Mr. Peplow, to observe 
them better, left the smoke- 
room and did a stately cake 
walk to the side, where he 
remained j heedless of the 
rain and spray, 

11 We are going right into 
it/' observed the doctor, 
returning from a visit to the 
doorway. 

Talwyn stared at him 
" Going into it ? We are in it, aren't we ? 9 * 
he demanded. 

41 Not on the edge of it yet/* replied the 
doctor, cheerfully, 

"Talwyn grunted and, regarding his cigarette 
with some disfavour, threw it away- Then, 
muttering something in his pocket-handker- 
chief, lie got up arid went out. Within ten 
minutes the doctor was alone. 

The wind increased as the day wore on, 
and at luncheon Mrs. Jardine, his only com- 
panion, rose before the meal was finished and, 
with a look equally compounded of surprise 
and indignation, quitted the saloon. By next 




' HE AWOKE ON THE FOURTH DAY AT SEA TO FIND HIS BUNK 

OUT OF THE HORIZONTAL, AND A FLOOR WHICH WAS NKVE K IN 

THE SAME PLACE FOR TWO SECONDS TOGETHER." 



disagreeably* 



morning it was blowing a gale, which con- 
tinued with unabated violence throughout 
the day. 

It was not until the day after that that 
Mr. Knight, who had been keeping body and 
soul together with judicious doses of brandy 
and water, swiin.^ his feet ovtr the ed^e of 
the bunk and lowered himself slowly to the 
floor. His neglected watch had stopped, and 
he was even in some doubt as to the day of 
the week. He opened the door, and clutching 
at anything that offered support ; made his 
way to Mr.Peplow's cabin and sank exhausted 
on 'the vfelfiaigiaJtfern 

1.[HfVEftSirr'^iffllCWIGAf^P»^> feebly, 



THE CASTAWAYS, 



191 



turning a dull eye on him. " What do you 
want ? " 

" Bright and entertaining society/' retorted 
Knight, .wkh weak ferocity. 

His friend made no reply, but, turning 
away, closed his eyes and tried to forget his 
troubles in sleep. Knight, lying on the settee, 
listened drearily to the creaking of timbers, 
the distant crash of crockery from the 
stewards' pantry, and the monotonous sound 
of the bilge as it washed to and fro. The door 
opened and the horrible reek of a cigar 
assailed his nostrils. He turned a languid 
head to see Maloney standing in the doorway. 

" Just had a look into your cubby-hole," 
he said, entering. " Thought perhaps you 
had gone overboard."" 

" Take — it — away," said Knight. 

The doctor looked puzzled. " Oh, the 
cigar ! " he said, with a laugh. " I'll hold it 
outside the door. It's one of Pope's best. 
He has just given me the box. Says he never 
wants to see one again." 

" What's — time ? " inquired Knight, with 
an effort. 

" Just gone four. Are you going to get 
up ?» 

" Where are — the — others ? " inquired 
Knight. 

" All in bed except two," was the reply. 
" I've had my hands full, I can tell you. 
There's still a big sea running. Miss Sea- 
combe describes it as mountainous." 

" Is — is she up ? " inquired Knight, starting. 

" And Mrs. Ginhell," said Maloney. " Both 
made an effort and got up to breakfast. 
Slight relapse after breakfast, but turned up 
to lunch. They've got ten times the pluck 
of the men. I've got 'em both up on deck 
wrapped up in shawls in lounge chairs." 

Knight groaned, and putting his feet to 
the floor got up and looked out at the port- 
hole. With another groan he returned to 
the settee. 

" Don't you worry about them," said 
Maloney, gently; " they're all right. I'm 
reading poetry to them." 

" Poetry ? " gasped Knight. 

" Keats," said the other, nodding. " It's 
Ciss Seacombe's favourite. After dinner 

m going to give her some of my own. I 
lall tell her it's Shelley. There's one little 
ling of mine " 

" Oh, go to blazes ! " moaned the indignant 

night. " Are they strapped in their 
lairs ? " 

"They are not," said the doctor. "If 
iu had ever heard me read poetry you would 

t ask me that question. Why not make an 



. effort and get up and come and hear me ? 
It's only a question of will-power." 

" Go away," said Knight. ~~ ~~ 

" Talk to yourself firmly. Say over six 
times : c I will be a man ; I will not lie about 
Kke a dying duck in a thunderstorm in pink 
pyjamas with blue stripes undone at the 
neck.' " 

"This — is the doctor — Freddie," observed 
Knight, bitterly. 

" Send him away," faltered Mr. Peplow. 

" It's curing you I would be," said the 
doctor. " Trying to shame you into your 
trousers. I cured a man of the sea-sickness 
once by sitting on his diaphragm* It was the 
indignity of the thing that he didn't like. In 
the wild desire to kill one of the best doctors 
in England he forgot all about his illness." 

Knight closed his eyes. 

" Well, I must be going," continued 
Maloney. " I mustn't keep the ladies waiting. 
I suppose you haven't got a voice-lozenge 
about you ? " 

He took two or three sharp puffs at his 
cigar, which had nearly gone out, and 
vanished in a cloud of malodorous smoke. 

There was a long silence, broken only by a 
faint moan from Mr. Peplow. Then Knight, 
fired by the story of the owner of the out- 
raged diaphragm, rose unsteadily to his feet 
and tottered back to his cabin. A small 
figure, lying on its back on his settee with its 
knees drawn up, eyed him wanly. 

" Albert ! " exclaimed the astonished 
Knight. 

The boy pointed a trembling finger at a 
siphon of soda which was rolling about on 
the floor with a broken plate and some dry 
biscuits. As a defence it seemed incomplete. 

" Then I had — to — lay down," said Albert, 
with a shudder. 

He turned over on his left side, drew his 
knees up to his chin, and composed himself 
to slumber. By a great effort Knight managed 
to retrieve a couple of biscuits and the 
soda and cut his foot on the broken plate. 
A stiff peg of brandy and soda, together with 
the biscuits, helped to revive him. He took 
his clothes from the floor and, with trembling 
fingers, proceeded to dress himself. 

He gained the deck with some difficulty 
and, swaying with weakness, stood holding 
on to a rail. After the atmosphere below 
the strong, clean air was delicious, and he did 
his best to ignore the heaving seas and a 
couple of performing fishing-boats. Slowly 
and carefully he made his way aft to the 
sheltered spot where Maloney was reading 
to his fair patients. 



192 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



A little delighted exclamation from Mrs. 
Ginnell and a smile from Miss Seacombe 
greeted his arrival. Mutual congratulations 
were exchanged. 

" He had better have your chair/' said 
Miss Seacombe to the reader. 

The doctor arose and Knight, having by 
dint of skilful balancing taken the chair 
without mishap, bestowed a smile, right and 
left, on his fair companions. It was returned 
with interest, and Mrs. Ginnell, taking pos- 
session of his left hand, patted it affectionately. 

** He has got the turn now, I think/' said 
the doctor, regarding him with a professional 
eye. " I have done my part ; all he wants 
now is careful nursing/' 

Knight, still weak and dizzy, looked at the 
volume of poems in the other's hand and 
smiled maliciously. 

44 Page fifty-seven/' said Maloney, thrust- 
ing it into his hand, " fourth line. Take it 
easy to begin with and don't strain your 
voice. It's time I went off and looked after 
the other poor sufferers." 



CHAPTER XIV. 
A somewhat disillusioned Mrs. Jardine 
appeared at the breakfast • table next 
morning, but until the ship arrived at 
Gibraltar most of the company preferred 
to take their meals in their cabins. Flying 
visits to the deck were made by one or two 
members, but like the trial-flights of nestlings 
they were of short duration ; Mr. Pope on one 
occasion having to suffer the indignity of 
being helped back to his nest by Albert. 

The stability of Gibraltar gave universal 
satisfaction, and it was felt that Great 
Britain had deserved well of her citizens by 
acquiring it. Delightful to know that when 
you put your foot down there was something 
there to meet it. 

The Rock left behind, they came in for an 
unbroken spell of fine weather. Port after 
port helped to break the monotony of life on 
shipboard, and Carstairs noted with pleasure 
the good-fellowship prevailing between his 
guests. Only Knight and Peplow, conferring 
apart, had occasion to describe the smiling 
good-nature of Lady Penrose and Mrs. Jardine 
as barefaced duplicity. 

" They have never paid me so much atten- 
tion/' said Knight, bitterly. 

Mr. Peplow groaned. 

" I'm a sort of human magnet," continued 
his friend. " Yesterday afternoon the smoke- 
room was empty and I took Winifred in to see 
me smoke a cigarette. Lady Penrose came 
in to witness the performance two minutes 



later, and within a quarter of an hour 1 was 
the centre of an admiring circle of five." 

" And Talwyn was with me," said Mr. 
Peplow. " That is to say, he was boring 
Effie with his conversation, and I went to the 
rescue." 

'*' And when you are boring her, he comes 
to the rescue," ^aid Knight. " The whole 
fact of, the matter is, this ship is too small ; 
but even ashore I get a large following. That 
chap. Tollhurst is trying to make himself 
amiable to Lady Penrose. He hangs about 
her like a shadow, and when she is not on 
guard over me he takes over her duties. 
Wonder where Talwyn picked him up ? " 

Mr. Peplow shook his head. " Don't 
matter where he was picked up/' he murmured ; 
44 trouble is, he is here." 

" What is it ? " asked Maloney, sauntering 
up. *' A mothers' meeting ? or a Young 
Men's Mutual Improvement Society ? Why 
aren't you in the smoke-room ? Pope is 
doing card-tricks. He is standing with his 
eyes shut to show there is no deception, while 
we draw cards. The opportunity was too 
much for my politeness. He has muffed 
two tricks already." 

" You have set a bad example," said 
Knight, as Miss Blake, followed by Talwyn, 
slipped furtively out of the smoke-room and 
went forward. 

Mr. Peplow followed his friend's glance, 
and in a careless fashion started to move off. 

" No," said the doctor, shaking his head. 
" Better not." 

Mr. Peplow drew himself up and stared at him . 

44 Wrong tactics," said the unmoved doctor. 
" Let her get fed up with him." 

Mr. Peplow, fiery red in colour, turned and 
looked appealingly at Knight. 

" And miss you," continued Maloney. 
" Cake is a nice thing, but one can have too 
much of it. Let her go without it for a day." 

44 I don't understand you," said Peplow, 
with great dignity. 4t Cake ! " 

44 Or anything else sweet and wholesome," 
replied the doctor, looking him over. " You 
be guided by me. I've seen a lot of this sort 
of thing. Taken a hand in it, too, when I 
was young. Oh, I know just what's going on, 
and watching it gives me a lot of quiet 
pleasure in the few moments I can snatch 
from my duties. It's no use getting stuffy ; 
I can't help having an observant eye, any 
more than I can help interfering in lost 
causes. All big natures are like that." 

Mr. Peplow was saved a reply by the appear- 
ance of Pope from the smoke-room. His 
voice cam? booming along the deck. 



THE CASTAWAYS, 



193 



il Of course the trick failed/* he com- 
plained, " When you tell a man to draw 
a card and put it hack, and he puts it in his 
pocket instead and disappears, the thing's 
impossible, Where's that doctor ? n 

i Time for me to disappear/ 1 said Maloney. 
'* I never attempt to defend an impossible 
position* Come down in my cabin and have 
a chat, t Subject : Dowagers and how to 
circumvent 'em. 1 ' 

He disappeared, and Knight and Peplow 
after a moment's hesitation followed. 

The doctor's subject was one that might 
have been of interest to Miss Mudge, who had 
been for some time 
suffering from the 
unwelcome 
chaperonage of 
Miss Flack* Miss 
Mudge would have 
been the first to 
admit that she 
ounc in for an 
undue amount of 
attention; what 
she would not 
admit was that she 
required any 
assistance in deal- 
ing with it. 
Besieged by the 
engine-room, the 
forecastle, and 
the steward's 
pantry, she more 
than held her own 
— a fact which 
only increased the 
ardour of the 
victims* 

At meal - times 
she was free. The 
deck was empty 
and the passengers 

Ijelow, At such times,, with a book for use 
and some needlework for show, it was her 
practice to lead the way to the bows, followed 
by some delighted seaman carrying a deck- 
c air. At lunch -time on the day following 
i r. Pope's card-tricks the cliair of state was 
I: rne by Mr, Tarn, the boatswain. Not by 
h ppy chance, but owing to a few plain 
\ *rds aimed at a couple of hands who were 
h raging about waiting to perform the office 
ii lead of going on with their work. " How's 
t xt ? " he inquired, planting the chair. 

Miss Mudge arranged herself and let fall 
a >all of woolj which the boatswain pursued. 
I : returned winding up the slack. 



" The other sjde., I think/' said the girl, 
rising, 

Mr + Tarn made the adjustment, and, 
stroking a yellow moustache, stood watching 
her with a world of patient devotion in his 
fine blue eyes. 

k * Wonderful pleasant, ain't it ? " he ven- 
tured at last. 

Miss Mudge yawned. * { Rather boring/' 
she said. bl Nothing seems to happen at sea.' J 

41 But you've been ashore/' said the 
boatswain. 

" Oh, yes j I've been ashore/ J said the girl, , 
languidly, " but it isn't like England, you 




IT WAS HER PRACTICE TO LEAD THE WAY TO THE BOWS, POLL OWED BY 
SOME DELIGHTED SEAMAN CAKRVING A DECK-CHAIR/' 



know. I don't call it civilized, I am not 
used to roughing it." 

" Anybody could see that — with half an 
eye/' said the boatswain. ht The first time 
I see you, 1 says to the carpenter, ' That's a 
dainty little piece o' goods/ I says," 

M And what did he say ? M inquired Miss 
Mudge j carelessly. 

The boatswain was not prepared for the 
question. M It don't matter what *e said/' 
he replied, guardedly, " but I told 'im if 
ever he said it agin I'd give him something 
for himself he'd remember all his lifetime." 

Hiss Mudg?991Sdii5B? m dis;ippL'arcd. " I 
don't lttM I Vtod*VO b*4l CfcUOSL Ntartly. "I 



i 9 4 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



suppose they have to go to sea because nobody 
will employ them ashore." 

" There's sailormen and sailormen," said 
the boatswain, tenderly ; " there's me, and 
there's the carpenter. Are you keeping 
company with anybody ? I'm not." 

The girl shook her head and half-closed her 
eyes. " Certainly not," she said, slowly. 
" I don't like men. Heaps and heaps have 
asked me, but I've always said * No/ I 
prefer my liberty." 

The boatswain gazed at her with ardour. 
" Perhaps you haven't met the right one," 
he said, hopefully. 

There was no reply, and he ventured a 
little closer. The second mate was on the 
bridge, a man of kindly nature and tolerant 
views. Moreover, he was out of earshot. 

" Why don't you come for'ard a bit 
oftener ? " breathed the boatswain. 

" Come forward ? What for ? " inquired the 
girl, bending over a stocking she was darning. 

Mr. Tarn came a little closer still. " Ter 
see me," he said, tenderly. 

" Phh I I see quite enough of you," was 
the reply. " Besides, you're the sort of man 
that looks best a long way off." 

The boatswain drew back, gasping. The 
little bit of broken looking-glass nailed to the 
side of his bunk told a much more flattering 
tale. He gazed at the fluffy head bent over 
its work and tried again. 

" 'Sides which," he said, slowly, " there's 
more breeze for'ard, and if there's anything 
to see you see it fust, and — and — — Why, 
your little shoe's undone ! " 

He knelt; down to adjust it, just as a 
sharp cough sounded from behind. He turned 
his head to see Mr. Markham emerging from 
the smoke-room. 

" Pore stooard," he said, as the butler 
approached ; " he's got a cold, ain't he ? 
Or p'r'aps it's a fish-bone stuck in 'is throat. 
Well, he ought to wait till they've finished." 

" You've no business talking to lady 
passengers, bos'n," said the butler, sharply. 

" You're right, matey," retorted Mr. Tarn. 
" This ain't bisness, it's pleasure. I'm 
teaching the lady 'ow to, tie knots ; she won't 
undo this not if she tries for hours and hours." 

4< What ? " exclaimed the girl, sharply. 

" When you want to take 'em off," said 
the boatswain, beaming at her as he rose to 
his feet, " you come to me. You come to me 
every morning to do 'em up and every night 
to undo 'em. Bless you, I like work. Here, 
I'll darn that for you." ( 

" Bos'n, you forget yourself/' cried the 
butler, as Miss Mudge drew back quickly. 



" What, ain't you gone yet ? " inquired 
Mr. Tarn, with affected surprise. " What 
about washing up them plates and licking 
the grease off the knives ? Don't look like 
that ; you'll break something." 

" I wish you two would go away and 
quarrel somewhere else," said the gratified 
Miss Mudge. " How do you think I can get 
on with my work ? " 

" What's the matter ? " inquired Mr. 
Biggs, who had just sidled up. " Are these 
men annoying you ? " 

" They make me nervous," said Miss 
Mudge. u I'm so afraid there'll be bloodshed." 

" Butler," said Mr. Biggs, gravely, " you 
ought to be below ; your engines'll stop if 
you neglect your stokijig like this. I looked 
down through the skylight as I passed, and I 
saw the furnace-doors all open in a row wait- 
ing for you to shove your burnt-offerings 
into 'em." 

" I don't want any of yoiy vulgarity," 
returned the butler, hotly. " That's not the 
way to speak of your master and his friends." 

" Get off to your duty, my man," said Mr. 
Biggs. " I shouldn't like you to lose your job 
— you'd never get another. And I was going 
to tell the bos'n that the first officer wants a 
word with him, but I don't think I will." 

The boatswain, with a languishing glance, 
withdrew somewhat hastily, and Mr. Biggs, 
leaning against the side with his back to the 
butler, bent over Miss Mudge. Mr. Mark- 
ham, after a short inward struggle, returned 
to his duties. 

" You'll cause a lot of trouble if you're not 
careful," said Biggs. 

" Me ? " said the girl, plaintively. " I'm 
sure I can't help it. You don't think I want 
to be pestered out of my life by a parcel of 
silly men, do you ? I'd much rather be alone. 
I don't want to talk to anybody. I want to 
sit quiet." 

Her companion coughed. " The idea of 
the bos'n worrying you with his silly talk ! " 
he said, after a pause. " Cheek ! " 

" It's no sillier than what I am used to," 
said Miss Mudge, resignedly. " He's no 
worse than the others. I rather like him in 
a way ; he reminds me of a friend of mine 
who's a sailor. Leastways, he's an engineer — 
a real engineer." 

" What do you mean by a ' real ' en- 
gineer ? " demanded Biggs, somewhat shortly. 

" Why, a proper engineer," replied the 
girl. " A gentleman who has got certificates 
and passed examinations, and all that sort of 

Mr/'I^Jlt^AJIQCfiiyielf by an effort.; 



THE CASTAWAYS, 



*95 



experience had taught him the danger of 
displaying temper. He smiled loftily. 

* There's not much to learn in a ship f s 
engines/' he said. " I know about all there 
is to know already* But 1 shall stick to cars. 
The sea wouldn't do for me; I'm fond of 
home," 




HE RAISED HIE MOUTH-ORGAN AND PL A V ! L > ! HOME, SWEET HOME/ WITH 
VARIATIONS AND MUCH FEELING," 



14 But — but you might get married some 
day/' objected the girl. 

M Well ? n said the other, staring, 

" And then it would be much nicer for 
c erybody if you went to sea. I'm sure your 
\ le would like it better," 

Mr, Biggs had another inward struggle , 
a d the issue was still undecided when 
i bert, appearing at the door of the smoke- 
t urn, came slowly forward and sat down on 
t e dfcck a couple of yards from them. The 
c luffeur glared at him in disgust, and a 



sfnotbered exclamation broke from him as 
the boy drew a mouth-organ from his pocket 
and gave it a preparatory wipe on his sleeve, 
" Run away/* growled Biggs. 
Albert shook his head, M I've as much 
right to be here as what you have," he said. 
" I've put the things straight in the smoke- 
room, and Mr. Markham said I 
could-come out and amuse myself. 
What piece would you like ? " 

He put the instrument to his 

lips , and the strains of " A Life 

Wave " floated over 

sea. His eyes were 

with the ecstasy of 

the artiste, but 

nevertheless he 

kept a shrewd 

watch on the 

m o vements of 

the palpitating 

Mr, Biggs, 

tf Now you run 
off," repeated 
Mr. Biggs, in a 
grim voice j when 
the boy had 
finished. " Run 
off, before you 
get hurt." 

" It don't hurt 
me," said Albert, 
simply. , t£ It does 
me goo d. Dr t 
Moloney says 
that playing wind 
instruments is 
good for the 
lungs. He told 
me so y e s t e r- 
day," 

He raised the 
mouth - organ 
again and played 
" Home, Sweet 
Home/ 1 with variations and much feeling. 

lt Why don't you go to the other end oi the 
ship ? " grow led the chauffeur. 

fct 'Cos 1 like this end/' said Albert, finish- 
ing a passage. '* Why don't you go ? "' 

Mr, Biggs looked at Miss Mudge, but that 
lady made no sign* Then ? turning bis head, 
he saw the butler standing in the doorway 
of the smoke-room. His hands were folded 
in front of him and a seraphic ^mile pJayed 
on his features as he stood gazing over the 
everlasting s^ igina | frorT 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



e continued.) 



WW I Read in 
Lord Kitchener s Hand. 

By "CHEIRCX" 

"I know I shall die at sea." 

" Cheiro V interview with Lord Kitchener is remarkably interesting, altogether 
apart from the claims of Palmistry and Astrology of which every reader will 
have his own opinion, and of which, perhaps, the safest thing to say is that 

they are " strange if true-" 




N July 2ist f i894 > I had the 
honour of meeting Lord Kit- 
chener and obtaining the 
autographed impression of his 
right hand which accompanies 
this article. 
The day I had this impor- 
tant interview, the late Lord Kitchener, or, 
as he was then, Major-General Kitchener, 
was at the War Office. To take this impres- 
sion 1 had to employ the paper lying on his 
table, and, strange as it may appear to those 
who read symbols, the imprint of the War 
Office may be seen at the top of the second 
finger — the finger known for ages as that of 
Fate — in itself perhaps a premonition that 
lie would one day be the guiding hand in that 
great department in the most terrible war 
that up to now has threatened the destiny 
of Britain. 

As I related in one of my recent books , 
" Palmistry for All/' published by Herbert 
Jenkins j Ltd., in 1914, Lord Kitchener was 
at the moment of my interview Sirdar of 
the Egyptian Army, and had returned to 
England to tender his resignation on account 
of some hostile criticism over " the Abbas 
affair," His strong-willed action was a few 
weeks later completely vindicated. He was 
made a K,C,M,G,, and returned to Egypt 
with more power than ever, and not long 
afterwards brought the Egyptian campaign 
to a successful close. 

It seems only yesterday — that, to me, 
most memorable morning — -when, after send- 
ing in my card, I was in a few minutes 
ushered into his room. 

He received me most cordially. " Weil," 
he said, " so you want to have a look at my 
hind again ? " 

" Again ? " I said, in as*omshm?nt, 

" Yes/* he replied. M Yean* ago I went 



to see you, like so many hundreds of other*, 
and I can only say you were most singularly 
accurate in everything you told me*' 1 

(t I am so glad," I stammered, li for 1 
hardly dared come and ask you to let me have 
an impression of your hand, as I had no idea 
you believed in such studies." 

"Look here tJ — he turned and pointed to 
a small blue vase about three inches high 
that was standing on his table — *' can you 
tell me anything about that ? if 

Utterly taken aback, I took the vase in 
my hands, looked it all over, and then put it 
down 7 saying, u I am sorry, but I don't know 
one vase from another. I never had the in- 
clination to study such things," 

** Just so/' he laughed. tl You have answered 
yourself. I have never studied hands and 
you have. If a man makes a lifelong study 
of a thing, 1 expect him to know more about 
it than anyone else — so now you know why 
I went to see you/' 

This little incident had put me completely 
at my ease, and in a4ew moments this great 
man, before whom so many trembled and who 
was so much misunderstood , was quietly 
leaning bark in his chair asking me the mean- 
ing of the lines in his own clearly-marked palm 
and those of some famous men, such as Glad- 
stone, the impressions of whose hands 1 
had brought with me. 

He was then forty-four years of age, and 
I remember well how I explained the sti!! 
higher positions and responsibilities that 
his path of Destiny mapped out before 
him. 

The heaviest and greatest of all would, I 
told him, be undertaken in his sixty-fourth 
year (1914), but how little either of us thought 
that in that year the most terrible war that 
Englandjf^ft-i.flviEpjjengaged in would have 

M#PEK5tfY OF MICHIGAN 



WHAT I READ IN LORD KITCHENER'S HAND. 



197 




THE ONLY IMPRESSION OF LORD KITCHENER'S HAND EVER OBTAINED 

NOTE THE IMPRINT FROM THE WAR OFFICE PAPER AT THE TOP Ol- THE SECOND FINGER. 



Believing, as 1 do, in the Law of Periodicity 
p lying as great a role in the lives of individuals 
a it does in nations , it is significant for those 
ia 10 make a study of such things to notice 
tl it the same radix numbers, or ? as they 
a ™ also called, the +t Numbers of Fate/' that 
g veined Lord Kitchener's career when he 
to s planning out the Egyptian campaign, 
to ich resulted in the victories of Atbara and 
£ idurman in 1896, 1897, and 1898, produce 
tl 1 same radix numbers for 1914* 191 5, and 
i 16. 



These years added together from left to 
right give the following numbers :-- 

1896 = 24 = 6 Opening of Egyptian campaign. 

1897 = 25 — 7 Atbara and Omdurman. 

1898 = 26=8 Rest from labour -honoured 

by nation. 

1914= 15= 6 Opening of the Great War. 
1915 — 16=7 Creation of Britain's Army of 
4jQoo.ooo. 



198 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE, 



" Tell me what you like/' he said, that 
morning of July, 1894, " as long as the end 
is some distance off/' and yet, when I pointed 
out to him that the six, the eight, and 
the five were the most important numbers 
in his life, as quickly as the late King 
Edward worked out from my figures that 
sixty-nine was likely to be the end of his 
life, and joked with me and others about 
it afterwards, so Kitchener, with perhaps 
the same mysterious flash of intuition, 
called my attention to the fact that, when 
he would be sixty-six, the sixes indicated at 
the date of birth would for the first time 
come together, and also in a year (19 16) 
whose Number of Destiny made the total of 
an eight. " Strange, isn't it," he laughed, 
" but is there any indication of the kind of 
death it is likely to be ? " 

" Yes," I said, " there are certainly 
indications, but not at all, perhaps, the 
kind of end that ,one would be likely to 
imagine would happen to you." 

I then showed him, in as few words as 
possible, that, being born as he was in what 
is called " the Cusp of the first House of Air " 
in the Sign of Gemini, and entering into the 
first House of Water, the Sign of Cancer, also 
House of the Moon and detriment of Saturn-- 
taking these indications together with the 
cabalistic interpretation of the numbers 
governing his life -and the position Jupiter 
would be towards his sixty-sixth year, that 
his death would be by water, but most 
likely caused by storm at sea, with the 
attendant chance of some form of capture 
by an enemy and exile, from which he would 
never recover. 

"Thanks," he laughed, "I prefer the 
first proposition. 

" Yet," he added, " I must admit that 
what you tell me about danger at sea makes 
a serious impression on my mind, and I 
want you to note down among your queer 
theories — but do not sav anvthing about it 
unless some day you hear of my being 
drowned — that I made myself a good 
swimmer — and I believe I am a fairly good 
one — for no other reason but that as far 
back as I can remember I have always had 
a queer feeling that water would be my 
greatest danger. 

" Good-bye/' he said. " I won't forget ; 
and as, of course, you believe in thought- 
transference and that sort of thing, who 
knows if I won't send you some sign if it 
should happen that water claims me at the 
last ? " 

That he did remember is, I think, estab- 



lished by an Exchange Telegraph Company's 
message on June 19th, mentioning that 
u When Lord Kitchener came some three 
months ago to the British Front he met at 
Dunkirk Commandant de Balancourt, to 
whom he mentioned that a ' Jack Johnson * 
had dropped not far from him, ' that did 
not alarm me/ said the Field-Marshal, 
* because I know I shall die at sea.' " 

I must now allude to a strange occurrence 
on the night of the disaster, and yet one that, 
had it not happened, I doubt very much if 
I would ever have felt the desire to write 
this article. 

Many persons will of course regard what I 
am about to relate " as a strange coincidence/* 
but to others it may be just another illustra- 
tion of one o( the many mysteries that make 
up the sum-total of what they call " the 
unexplored side of life." 

The occurrence I am about to relate does 
not depend on myself for its testimony, for I 
have shown to the Editor of this Magazine 
the written testimony and confirmation of 
the two persons who were present. 

Exactly at eight o'clock on Monday evening, 
June 5th, the hour when the disaster to the 
Hampshire happened, I was sitting in a large 
music-room in my house in the country with 
two friends, when during a pause in general 
conversation about the war we were startled 
by a crash of something falling in the north 
end of the room. Going to the place where 
the noise was heard, we saw a large oak 
shield on which the arms of Britain were* 
painted lying on the floor, broken into two 
halves. 

Picking it up, I noticed that the shield 
had broken through the part representative 
of England and Ireland, and, showing it to 
my friends, I could not help saying, " This 
is evidently an omen that some terrible blow 
has at this moment been dealt at England/ 
I feel that some naval disaster has taken 
place in which Ireland is in some way con- 
cerned " ; but how little did we think that at 
that very moment an illustrious Irishman, 
Lord Kitchener, was standing on the quarter- 
deck of the Hampshire facing his death in 
a tempest at sea ! 

A few minutes later the clock struck eight. 

I have often asked myself since — did Lord 
Kitchener remember and keep his promise ? 

Returning to the accompanying illustration 
of Lord Kitchener's hand, low down in the 
palm one can hardly help noticing that the 
Line of Life, encircling the ball of the thumb, 
has a line shoaling out through it crossing the 
two main hues of the hand— the Line of Fate 



7 



WHAT I READ IN LORD KITCHENER'S HAND. 



1 



199 



\ 




THE SHIELD WHICH BROKE AT THE HOUR OF LORD KITCHENER'S DEATH. 

TUTS INCIDENT IS VOUCHED FOR 13 V WITNESSES, AS RELATED IN THE ARTICLE. 



going up to the first and second fingers and 
the Line of Success going up to the third. 
The line shooting across the Life Line is called 
the Line of Voyage or Travel, and it is a 
strange fact that it is on this hand seen 
br taking the Line of Fate and Line of Suit ess 
at the very period where all my books on 
this subject show to be about the sixty-sixth 
year of age. 

Taking these signs on the hand into con- 
sideration, the fact must be remembered, 
without going into more technical details, 
t t as Lord Kitchener was horn on June 24th, 
o 3 he was in the period of the year called 
4i Cusp of the first House of Water " 
detriment or exit of Saturn, whose number 
n eight. Now, looking back again at the 

NOTK. — As u Cheiro** retired from fraft 
has been written by him with no other 



by Google 



influence of numbers, as I said before t his 
important ones were the sixes, the eights, 
and the fives, and the end of this ^reat man's 
career , with the same mysterious fatality that 
is seen more easily in the lives of the great. 
took place in his sixty-sixth year, on June 5//^ 
hU weakest number, and at eight o'eloek in 
the evening j while undertaking, by water, 
what mij^ht have been the most important 
journey of his life. 

Considering all these things, perhaps then, 
it is not too much to believe that in the case 
of Lord Kitchener " the appointed time " had 
come. The work of the life had been accom- 
plished, and the year of 1916 was even at, his 
birth written in the Book of Destiny as the 
year of the final u rest from labour,'' 

ssional work same years ago, this article 
view but that of general public interest* 

Original from 
UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



wJis. 



PERPLEXITIES. 

By HENRY E. DUDENEY. 



312.— MINE-SWEEPING. 

A BUNE-SWEEPER, starting from the position shown 
in the illustration, picks up all the sixty-four mines 

in fourteen 
«* * *- *• * *•*.*. straight courses. 

The seventh 

******** course must end 

«»«•*•&* the large mine, 

and the four- 

*!*«•«•*• teenth must end 

* at the point from 

*A**» ••••••• which she set out. 

Take your pencil 

******** and try to strike 

. mmmmm mmA out all the mines 

in fourteen con- 
<l*t*%<W%%^ tinuous straight 

strokes under the 
conditions. A solution in fifteen courses is not 
difficult to find, but to perform the feat in fourteen 
requires skilful seamanship. 



313.— CAN IT BE DONE? 

I have just been trying to place the thirty-two 
pieces on a chess-board so that not a single one of them 
can move or make a capture. The position must be 
one that could possibly (no matter how improbably) 
occur in a game. For example, two pawns of the 
same colour cannot be on the same file, since there 
has been no capture. I have failed, but I will show 
next month that it is at least possible to place the 
men so that there are only three moves. Perhaps 
some ingenious reader can beat this. It is a very 
interesting investigation. 



314.— A TRIO OF WORD SQUARES. 



1. 
2. 
3- 
4. 
5- 

1. 
2. 

3- 
4- 
5- 

1. 
2. 



His sweetheart knows full well he does. 
For these the baker ask. 
Leaves of a certain Eastern plant. 
The writer's frequent task. 



To happen sometimes, here and there. 



Found in the sea, I wis. 

The custom of no matter whom. 

Again disposed of, this. 



Most useful are they to the smith. 
A faith that's much embraced. 



3 

4. Found in an artist's studio. 

5. In ocean depths is traced. 

The three blanks must be rilled by the same word, 
of which we give no light. 



315.— LAYING OUT SHELLS. 

The delivery was being made to our artillerymen, at 
various points, of one hundred spherical shells at a 
time. These could have been laid out on the ground 
in a square 10 by 10, but the eccentric officer in charge 
ordered them to be displayed in the manner shown 
in the illustration, which, he said, would remind ^is 



men of the Victoria Cross. Note that the four trianglef 
have respectively five, six, seven, and eight shells on 
each of their sides. When the demand was made for 

a more plentiful 

supply of muni- 
tions the delivery 
was increased. 
They still received 
a square number 
of shells, and they 
were laid out in 
exactly the same 
way, the number 
along the three 
sides of the re- 
spective triangles 
being four succes- 
sive numbers, say 
8, 9, 10, 11, or 13, 
14, 15, 16, or similarly. Now, what is the smallest 
possible number of shells in the delivery ? 

316.— AN ANAGRAM. 
The letters in the following name and address wihV 
if properly arranged, give the name of a celebrated 
poet : W. D. Howells, Lawn Forge, Troy, N.H. 




Solutions to Last MontlTa Puzzles. 

307.— THE HORSE-SHOE GAME. 
Just as in " Noughts and Crosses," every game 
should be a draw. Neither player can win except 
by the bad play of his opponent. 

308.— FIND YOUR ENEMY. 
Of course the addition of the year of anybody's 
birth to his age this year will always be 1916. The 
rest of the process is merely designed to conceal the 
simple addition of 18469 in order to bring the amount 
up to the required 20385, which, converted into letters 
of the alphabet in the way directed, reads BOCHE. 
There is the common enemy. 

309.— THE FALSE SCALES. 
If the scales had been false on account of the pans 
being unequally weighted, then the true weight of 
the pudding would be 1540Z., and it would have weighed 
1300Z. in one pan and 1780Z. in the other. Half the 
sum of the apparent weights (the arithmetic mean) 
equals 154. But the illustration showed that the pans 
weighed evenly, and that the error was in the unequal 
lengths of the arms of the balance. Therefore the 
apparent weights were 1210Z. and 1690Z., and the real 
weight 14302. Multiply the apparent weights together 
and we get the square of 143 — the geometric mean. 
The lengths of the arms were in the ratio 11 to 13. 

310.— MATE WITH THE PAWN. 

White playsas follows. Themoves of Black areforced. 

1. K to Q'6 ; 2. K to B 5 ; 3. K to B 6 (a) ; 4. Kt 
to B 8, ch. ; 5. P to R 7, mate. 

(a) The trick thus lies in getting the original position 
with Black to move. 



IlKJIWp&ferH I RELATIONS* 
The speaker was the son cf h: 



IONSHIP PUZZLE. 
re companion. 



r 



\Vnat Happened in Berlin. 

By MRS. BELLOC LOWNDES. 

Illustrated by A. Gilbert. 




OVE ? " exclaimed Rosic Van- 
derlyn, smiling a lutle re- 
proachfully. And then again, 
more lightly, she uttered the 
word which to her meant so 
much. " Love ? Why, love 
laughs not only at locksmiths, 
but at bread tickets, meat tickets, and, what 
L> much more wonderful, even at fat tickets, 
dear Auntie Maas ! Seriously, do you think 
that any privation would make me leave the 
country which is my lover's country, to say 
nothing of yours, and that of dear, kind Pappa 
Maas ? Besides, as Pappa Maas is always 
telling us, we are not enduring more privations 
than we ought to endure in time of victorious 
war ! " 

A shadow came over the face of the older 
woman. She was small, frail-looking, indeed 
quite curiously un-German in appearance. 
" Victorious war ? " she whispered, in a 
ques ioning tone. 

The beautiful American girl who now stood 
smiling down at her caught Frau Maas up, 
rather quickly, " You say that, Auntie 
Maas" — but even she did not speak in a 
loud voice, even she looked round the large 
room before she spoke, for in the days of 
even victorious war Berlin walls have ears — • 
" You say that because you are, after all, 
English born. Try as you will, you can't 
forget the British Navy, Frau Maas ! But I, 
who am an American of Dutch descent, and 
engaged to a German officer, believe in th£ 
German Army, and so, naturally, in victory." 
What did Frau Maas mean by her mys- 
t ious, reiterated hints that she, Rosie 
y nderlyn, would do well to quit Berlin and 
% and live in Holland for a while ? Rosies 
I ppiness — nay, more, her duty — was surely 
t stay in the country of Major von Buberg, 
! Prussian officer to whom she was be- 
thed ? Thanks to the goad income which 
s paid to her so punctually each month by 
G?rman-American Bank, and to the 
icrous terms made by her with the Herr 
Dfessor, the material conditions of Miss 

Vol Iti. —14. Copyright, 1916, by 



Vanderlyn's life seemed hardly affected by 
the terrible war which had now lasted sixteen 
months. But, of course, she did know that 
the handsome sum she paid her German host 
and his English wife made, as far as they were 
concerned, all the difference between plenty 
and starvation. That, surely, was yet another 
reason why she should stay in Berlin. 

So, speaking this time far more defiantly 
than before, " No, no ! " she exclaimed, 
" you will never persuade me that it can ever 
become either my pleasure or my duty to 
leave Berlin ! I mean, of course, till I leave 
it" — she hid her beautiful, glowing face on 
her friend's breast — " till I leave it," she 
whispered at last, " for my honeymoon." 
She added, playfully, " I have already proved 
myself a better German woman than you will 
ever be, darling Auntie Maas ! " 

The person so addressed looked round 
apprehensively. " Hush, hush ! " she mur- 
mured. " You know, Rosie, that in these 
dreadful times everything overheard may be 
reported to the police ! My loyalty to Ger- 
many should surely be above suspicion; 
have I not four sons fighting — fighting against 
my own countrymen ? " There was a thrill 
of bitter, hopeless pain in her low voice, but 
the girl now listening to her was too young, 
and too absorbed in her own affairs, to know 
what the orher was feeling. 

Poor Frau Maas ! Her case was indeed cruel, 
for she, an Englishwoman, married when only 
eighteen to a German professor, after a sad, 
dull girlhood mostly spent in Hamburg, had 
never really felt English till this war had 
roused in her certain strong national instincts. 
And now her four sons were all at the Front, 
in Flanders, fighting against their mothers 
people. 

Looking at the animated, lovely young 
woman who stood there, smiling through 
her tears, Frau Maas said to herself, " FritK 
will have to tell her ! I shall never be 
able to make, -her [.understand, unless I tell 
more of the truth than 1 am allowed to do ! " 
Aloud, ^e'^wftri 'onysloMyi'^^r cannot say 

Mrs. Relloc l/owndes. 



202 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



more than I have said, dear child, but much 
as I shall miss you, I beg you seriously to 
do what I so strongly advise. I may say 
that Major von Buberg also wishes you to 
leave Berlin/' but as she said these last 
words her voice faltered. 

At the mention of her lover, Rosie Van- 
derlyn's face altered ; it stiffened into gravity. 
" And yet the last time I saw Max," she said, 
quietly, " he assured me that even if we met 
seldom, it was yet a great comfort to him 
to know that I was here, close by. If he has 
changed his mind, why does he not write and 
tell me so himself ? " 

11 You promised to trust him absolutely," 
said Frau Maas, in a low voice. 

" Yes, I did promise — and I do trust him, 
absolutely ! I know his work is not only 
very important, but secret, too, and I have 
never asked him a single question about it. 
Since war broke out it has been enough for 
me to know that he is not fighting, and that 
this mysterious task keeps him from those 
awful trenches in Flanders. Do you remem- 
ber that day early in the war when you came 
into my bedroom and found me on my knees, 
Frau Maas ? I was thanking God that Max's 
work would keep him in Berlin, and that 
though he had only just told me that I was 
to see just as little of him as if he were at the 
Front ! " 

" But you have seen him sometimes/' 
breathed Frau Maas. It was an assertion, 
not a question. 

Rosie Vanderlyn blushed deeply. " Yes, 
I know I have seen Max — or, rather, that I 
did see him occasionally during the early 
months of war. But lately I have not seen 
him." 

" Is that quite true, my dear ? " Frau 
Maas looked fixedly at the girl, and Rosie 
hesitated ; she grew red — painfully, un- 
becomingly red. 

" No," she said at last. " It is not quite 
true, FVau Maas, for I will confess to you 
that I saw Max for five minutes last week. 
I gave him my word, however, that no one 
should know of our meeting." 

" The police knew of it," observed Frau 
Maas, quietly. " And it is owing to that 
secret meeting between you and Major von 
Buberg that you are now being requested to 
leave Berlin." 

" Oh, Auntie Maas ! " 

Every vestige of colour faded from Rosie 
Vanderlyn's cheeks. She looked, indeed, as 
if she were going to faint. Even in her 
free, independent, American ears the word 
"Police" had a terrifying sound. Also, it 



was horrible, and indescribably humiliating, 
to learn that unsympathetic, maybe mocking, 
eyes had seen that meeting — to her that 
sacred meeting, between herself and her 
lover. 

Major von Buberg had chosen a spot which 
he believed to be entirely solitary, and an 
hour, six o'clock in the evening, when few 
people care to be out on a winter's night. 
Those five minutes — for in truth their inter- 
view had lasted scarcely more — Rosie had 
spent in his arms, listening to his ardent, 
broken protestations of love and of fidelity. 
" It may be long, long before we can meet 
again ! " he had exclaimed. " But you must 
trust me, my beloved. And if ever you are 
in real peril, for in these days everything is 
possible, send me a note, unsigned addressed 
to my old nurse, Hedwig Bauer, 9, Luisa- 
strasse. But, remember, Rosie, that in giving 
you that address I am risking not only my 
present, but my future career. Only in the 
extremity of danger are you to do this thing." 

Had those solemn, secret words been over- 
heard ? 

" I don't quite understand what you mean, 
Frau Maas." She spoke calmly, for she was 
too alarmed, too disturbed, to weep, but her 
hands were trembling, her lips twitching. 
" Do you mean that it is the police who wish 
me to leave Berlin ? But what have I done to 
deserve such treatment ? Every penny I could 
dispose of I have put in the War Loans, and 
I have given up all my time to war work." 

Frau Maas got up and came over to where 
the poor girl had sunk down into the rocking- 
chair, which had been one of her own many 
gifts to the worthy couple with whom she 
had now lived so happily for two years. 

" The authorities are well aware, Rosie, 
that you have rendered valuable service to 
your future country, and their feeling to you 
is most cordial and kindly. Yet even so, 
they have a reason for wishing you to leave 
Germany till this awful war is over. But, for 
•God's sake, my dear, do not * give me away.' 
I was warned only to advise you as from my- 
self. But as I have said so much, I will say 
one thing more. To my thinking, the reason 
why you are desired to go away for a while is 
a very simple one. It is plain that Major 
von Buberg is engaged on a task of such 
danger, and of such delicacy, that his military 
superiors do not want his mind disturbed. 
He has always been under honour not to 
leave his post. By spending even that five 
minutes alone with you the other day he 
broke phis, ivord , .TjifiLt- interview, short as it 
was, sealM'y'our^WTTaHt'x)! expulsion." 



WHAT HAPPENED IN BERLIN. 



203 



"Of cxpul/ion?" Rjjic Vanderlyn re- 
peated ; then, quietly, she added, " And 
supposing I refuse to go ? Supposing you 
told the police that you have not been able 
to persuade me to leave Berlin ? Do you 
seriously mean that they will compel me to 
go away — that they will deport me by 
force?" 

Frau Maas looked at the girl with a very 
troubled expression on her thin, sensitive 
Lice. 

" I cannot say what they would do," she 
answered. " But one thing I must tell you. 
Should they be driven to any such extremity, 
it might be a serious thing for your betrothed's 
fu-ure career. So I hope — I greatly hope, 
for Major von Buberg's sake, as well as for 
your own, Rosie — that you will consent to 
go quietly." 

" You have told me so much," said the 
girl, pleadingly, " that I think you will consent 
to answering one more question. Have the 
people who have made up their minds to 
send me away any power over Max and his 
future ? I mean, is it really the police, or is it 
the military authorities, who desire me to 
leave Berlin ? " 

" The Military Governor of Berlin himself 
saw my husband on the matter," answered 
Frau Maas, impressively. 

A leaden weight suddenly descended on the 
girls heart. 

** Very well," she said, submissively, " I will 
go to Holland — I will leave at an hour's 
notice if necessary — if only I am allowed 
to see Max once more. If Max tells me to go, 
I will go." 

Frau Maas looked deeply distressed. 

" Rosie," she exclaimed, " I throw myself 
upon your mercy ! I told you a lie when 
I said Major von Buberg also wished you to 
leave Berlin. He has no idea of what has 
happened. They think it would distress him 
greatly, and make him less fit for his task. 
Indeed, I was begged to induce you to write 
him a cheerful letter, saying you have gone 
of your own free will. For your lover's sake, 
for his own ultimate interest — you know how 
ambitious he is, how eager to get on in his 
profession " She hesitated. 

" Yes," said Rosie Vanderlyn, " I know 
that nothing but the Emperor's direct com- 
mand has kept him from the Front." 

" He is imprudent," exclaimed Frau Maas, 
" very imprudent to have told you even that 
much ! " 

" He told me that very early in the war," 
said Rosie, quietly, " at a time when we all 
thought the campaign would be over in a few 



weeks. He was heartbroken, poor fellow, at 
not having gone with the regiment." She 
remained silent for a few moments, then 
added the fateful words, " I will do as you 
advise, and arrange to leave Berlin in — shall 
I say ten days' time ? " 

" I fear they want you to leave before then," 
said Frau Maas, reluctantly. " Something 
was said about Wednesday " 

" But to-day is Monday ! " 

" Yes, I know that the time seems short." 
Poor Frau Maas looked wretched — and she 
had cause to be, for the loss of this generous 
paying guest was a very, very serious thing 
to her and the Herr Professor. There was still 
food for those who had money to pay for it, 
but only yesterday the Frau Professorin had 
been asked to pay nine marks for a pound 
and a half of poor quality veal. 

" And what is it they want me to write 
to Max. ? What excuse am I to give ? " asked 
the girl, dully. She was numb with surprise 
and pain. 

" They wish Major von Buberg to believe 
you are leaving of your own free will because 
you now find your position as an American 
in Berlin a disagreeable one. Will you mind 
saying that, my child ? " 

" Yes, I shall mind it very, very much." 
She burst into sobs. " Everyone — well, if 
not everyone, all your friends, are still fairly 
kind to me. Also, as you know, I speak 
German so well that no stranger ever takes 
me for an American." 

The other shook her head sadly. " Only 
yesterday Pappa Maas received two very 
disagreeable anonymous letters, asking him 
why he kept an American woman in his 
house — he, with an English wife, too ! " 

Rosie looked away. She was cut to the 
heart. Why had Frau Maas told her this 
cruel, cruel thing ? 

But Frau Maas, poor soul, was wise in her 
generation. She knew that Rosie would be 
hurt, but she had wished to hurt Rosie, for 
Rosie's own good — for the girl's good and for 
that of her lover, Major von Buberg. 

Perhaps Rosie Vanderlyn guessed something 
ot what was in the other's mind. For sud- 
denly she got up and put her strong young 
arms round the sickly, sad-looking woman's 
neck. " God bless you for all your kindness 
to me ! " she murmured. " Whatever hap- 
pens, I have been happy— divinely happy 
with you and dear, dear Pappa Maas. And 
lately, oh ! I have felt as if I were almost 
wicked to be to content, with everyone round 
me anxious and ^d^to^ ta-sojat rest about 
the man I love, while" air' 61 you are in 






204 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 




* ,4 QOD BLESS YOU FOR Al-L YOUR KINDNESS TO ME/ SHE MURMURED." 



miserable suspense ! But I am not happy now 
— 1 don't suppose there is in all Berlin so 
miserable a girl as I am, now " 

The door opened; and the burly figure of 
the Herr Professor Fried rich Haas pushed 
through it. He was too worried , too pre- 
occupied, himself to notice how troubled and 
excited was lib* good " old woman " and the 
beautiful American girl to whom he had 
become so truly attached. 

" I news bring/ 7 he exclaimed, in his quaint 
English, * But no good news bring I ! It 
is declared by friend Gustav Keller that those 
obstinate Belgians refuse the so generous and 



desirable peace terms by our Kaiser through 
the Queen of the Belgians* mother offered/' 

11 That is indeed bad news/* and Frau 
Maas shook her head dolefully. 

" Also, still more serious news whisper will 
L" The old man drew nearer. * A very 
high medical authority declares the Kaisers 
condition very serious is/' 

" Hut the Kaiser is to drive through the 
city on his way to lunch with the Imperial 
Chancellor on the day after to-morrow,' ' 
objected Frau Maas, quickly. i( So he cannot 
be seriously ill, mv dear." 

tfHVQHTi<aFAllCWto.yiree weeks been, 



WHAT HAPPENED IN BERLIN. 



205 



and- all kinds- of wHd rumours about are.' In 
Paris and ia London he dying is believed to be. 
I myself fear very sick he is." 

/■',.'■ 11. 

Rosie Vanderlyn stirred in her sleep — she 
sighed deeply, and as she sighed, awoke. 

Awoke in the darkness of this winter 
morning's dawn in what was so truly, though 
she did not realize it, a beleaguered city, to 
the knowledge that this was the dawn of the 
-day on which she was to leave Berlin. Even 
now she could see, standing on the floor near 
the stove, the dim shape of her trunk, duly 
packed and strapped. 

Actuated by some queer, superstitious 
feeling, she had not taken down any of the 
pretty ornaments, the many charming, costly 
trifles which had gradually transformed the 
ugh* little room into something approximately 
like an American girl's bedchamber. 

In the fine apartment houses or flats which 
are the glory of modern Berlin everything is 
sacrificed to effect. Thus the living rooms 
are large and airy, often even magnificent in 
proportions ; but the bedrooms are small, 
tucked away at the back, and as often as not 
their windows overlook a blank wall. But to 
Rosie this little room had become very dear, 
for she had been so happy there — always 
happy — even before she had met the man who 
had so soon become her lover. 

After a year of wandering about Europe 
with a widowed friend who was a selfish, 
ill-tempered woman, a happy chance had 
brought Rosie Vanderlyn to Berlin, and in 
contact with this simple couple, a survival 
of the old, dreamy, romantic Germany of 
long, long ago. She had come to them 
meaning to stay two months. And then she 
had become so attached to the Herr Professor 
and his quiet, rather sad, old English wife 
that she had stayed on — on, till love had 
come with a great rush and splendid exulta- 
tion into her life. 

Miss Vanderlyn had met Major von Buberg 
at the American Embassy, and though he 
was many years older than herself, and in 
no sense what is in Berlin called u a marrying 
officer," it had been a case of love at first 
sight on both their parts. 

Handsome, clever, accomplished, still 
apparently full of the ardour of youth, 
Major von Buberg approximated more than 
does the average Prussian officer of rank to 
his Sovereign. It was an approximation 
which, in his case, was intensified by a 
slight physical resemblance to the Kaiser — 
d resemblance which would have been 



■ much stronger had he not chosen to be 
cleanshaven. ' ' ■ ^ ; 

For some time Max von Buberg had not 
known that the lovely American girl had a 
considerable fortune of her own: So little 
indeed had he known it, that early in his 
acquaintance with her he had spoken as if 
he would give up everything for love/ and, 
in Rosie V own country, start a new life, as 
many a German officer had had to do' on 
marrying a dowerless girl. So it had been 
delightful to her to be loved, as she knew she 
had been, for her own sake. 

She and Max von Buberg had become for- 
mally betrothed in the April of 1914, and, 
loverlike, he had pressed for an immediate 
marriage. 

But no leave was granted during that busy 
spring to Prussian officers of the Guard, and 
the American girl, set on what she called a 
proper honeymoon, was in no hurry to be 
married. A month* partly spent in Paris 
and in Italy would be possible in the autumn 
following their betrothal, so why hurry ? 

Lying there, on this wintry morning of 
the day on which she was to leave Berlin, 
with her heart desolate, and oppressed with 
a terrible oppression, Rosie remembered a 
sunny afternoon, early in the July of 1914, 
when Major von Buberg had come and 
suddenly implored her once more to consent 
to an immediate wedding. " It is very 
desirable that we be married at once/' he 
had exclaimed, " but I am on honour not to 
tell you the reason." 

He had spoken with a strange, harsh 
decision, and she had felt angered, taken 
aback by his abruptness. She refused, not 
unkindly, but very firmly, what she took 
to be an unreasonable demand. And at 
last he had said, " What if I may have to go 
away — what if we be parted for a long time ? " 

"Parted?" she had repeated, incredu- 
lously. " For how long, Max ? " 

In a very low voice he had answered, 
" I cannot tell you for how long. Perchance 
for a month, perchance for two months — not, 
I think, for as long as three months." 

Whereupon she had exclaimed, gaily — her 
heart ached now to remember the words — 
" But in no case was / going to stay in Berlin 
in August, so after all there is nothing changed, 
and I don't think we can improve on the 
twenty-third of September." 

And then, less than three weeks later, she, 
Rosie Vanderlvn, had understood ! When 
Max von Buberg; had ecrme and asked her 
to hasten their marriage, he had known there 
was to be War, a war which he believed — as 



2o6 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



did then all war-mad Germany — would be 
over in a few glorious weeks, but weeks which 
must be, however glorious, fraught with peril 
to every soldier taking part in the campaign. 

Then, within three days of the General 
Mobilization, and of that Proclamation of 
Martial Law which she, Rosie Vanderlyn, will 
never forget, were she to live to be a hundred 
years old, Max von Buberg came and told his 
betrothed, with a bitter chagrin he could not 
conceal, some amazing news. This news was 
that he was not going to the Front after all ! t 
That instead he had been charged by the 
Emperor himself with a secret, important task 
which would keep him in Berlin. He had 
further explained that they two would be 
able to meet but seldom. But, as a matter of 
fact, they had met frequently during the first 
few weeks of war. 

Early in that September, when the vic- 
torious German hosts seemed to be rushing 
on Paris, Rosie had asked her lover whether 
he would care for an immediate marriage. 
But he had shaken his head, and answered 
rather grimly, " We must now wait till the 
end of the war." A moment later he had 
caught her to his heart, with the words, 
" But that, my darling, will not be long ! 
Before the leaves fall, so the All Highest 
War Lord says, our victorious legions will be 
back in Berlin, and my task — my difficult, dull, 
disagreeable task — will be, please God, at 
an end." 

Now, this morning, that seemed years, 
instead of only fourteen months, ago ! 

As time had gone on she and Max von 
Buberg had met less and less often, and when, 
by good fortune, she did see him for a few 
moments, he looked tired, haggard, moody — 
older than the forty-two years to which he 
had so gaily owned in the early days of their 
betrothal. 

Suddenly the words von Buberg had uttered 
during this last short, secret, hurried meeting 
began to clang insistently in Rosie's ears : 
" // ever you are in real peril, send me a note, 
just a few words, unsigned, addressed to my 
old nurse, Hedwig Bauer, 9, Luisastrasse. 
But, remember, Rosie. that in giving you thai 
address I am risking not only my future but 
my present position. Only in the extremity of 
danger are you to do this thing" 

Rosie Vanderlyn lay back among her 
pillows. Her heart began to beat wildly. 
She felt an overpowering wish to communi- 
cate with her lover. But could she honestly 
describe herself as in an extremity of danger ? 
Her conscience said, " No," but her heart 
cried, " Yes" Surely she could so describe 



her expulsion, she knew not for what reason, 
from the country which she had already made 
her own ? 

Sitting up in bed, and covering her face 
with her hands, she began to think deeply. 
Suddenly a ray of light seemed to flood her 
anxious heart. Instead of writing a note she 
could go and see the good old woman who 
had been her lover's nurse. If she went there 
early this morning, there would still be some 
hours during which, if he chose to do so. 
Major von Buberg could communicate with 
her, and perhaps even get that cruel order 
of expulsion — for, disguise it how one might, it 
was nothing less — rescinded. 

III. 

There were few people out in Berlin on 
this wintry morning, and those who were 
about looked so anxious and forbidding — in 
many cases so hungry — that the American 
girl, hurrying along clad in her oldest coat 
and skirt, and wearing her plainest hat, felt 
afraid to accost them. At last she met a small 
boy staggering along under a parcel which 
would have been heavy for a man. Slipping 
a piece of nickel into his free hand, she asked 
him if he knew the Luisastrasse. 

" Why, I live close there ! " he exclaimed. 

Together they walked on till they reached 
a quiet, old-fashioned street running behind the 
royal castle which now seems the only survival 
and reminder of old Berlin. 

" What's the number you want ? " asked 
the boy. 

11 Number thirty." 

" There it is ! But I don't think anyone's 
living there. I've never seen anyone going in 
or out of the door." And he ran off, pleased 
with the trifle the pretty, tall, fair young lady 
had given him. 

No. 30, Luisastrasse, was a big house, and 
not at all the sort of place where Rosie would 
have expected Major von Buberg's nurse 
to reside. 

She rang the old-fashioned bell, and then 
she waited for what seemed to be an eternity, 
in the cold, solitary street.. 

At last the shutter of the square " stare- 
hole," as the German housekeeper calls it, 
slipped back in the massive door, and Rosie 
Vanderlyn, through its bars, saw the anxious- 
looking eyes of the old woman whom she had 
seen several times early in her engagement. 

With a feeling that now. at last, all would be 
well, the girl standing outside the door smiled 
radiantly. And,, as if in answer to that 
smile, Hedwig drewf- -itbe^ [heavy door open 
a few inches, and beckoned to her unexpected 



WHAT HAPPEXK1) IX UKRLIX, 



207 




"si-is awoke to the knowledge that this was the dawk of the day ox which she 

was to teave berlin." 



visitor to slip through. The n ? before Rosie 
had time even to say good morning, Major 
von Buberg T s old nurse bolted and barred the 
door. 

With wondering eyes the girl looked round 
the large, dark hall ? furnished more in 
English and American fashion than in the 
German way. At the back of the hall was 
an iron corkscrew staircase. Almost as if in 
answer to her thought, Hedwig observed, 
" This k a curious house, gracious lady I 
It was built by an Englishman — mad, as 
they are all mad." 

As she spoke Rosie noticed that dust lay 
thick or* the heavy table, as also on the sul>- 
statuial oak chairs flanking the table* In 
fact, this strange entrance hall looked as if 
it belonged to a house which was not lived in. 



And then for a few moment s— it seemed a 
very long time to Miss Vandcrlyn— the two 
women, the tall, slender American girl and 
the short, stout old German woman. Stood 
looking at one another without speaking ; 
and, as she stood there in that cold, dark hall, 
Rosie felt an eerie feeling of dread creep over 
her. She had thought to find Major von 
Bu berg's nurse living in one of those busy, 
lively ? cheerful hives in which the poor of 
Berlin congregate. It seemed a sinister 
thing to find her in this great , gloomy, 
empty house. 

And then, all at once, the truth, or rather 
a little ghnt of the truth, penetrated into 
Rosier mindQrjginal from 

she whlJt^^ *lflft rf W hm ' ? 



co8 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



And the old woman, looking round appre- 
hensively, as if afraid she might be overheard, 
muttered back, " Yes, yes — he lives here, of 
course. But no one must know it. No one 
does know it, but you and I, gracious lady." 

Once more there was a long silence between 
them. 

" Is he here now ? " murmured Rosie, and 
the other nodded. 

And then over Rosie Vanderlyn there 
swept an irresistible temptation. " Oh, Hed- 
wig, do you think that I could see him — just 
for one moment ? " she asked, impulsively. 
" I am going away to-day, to Holland, till 
the end of the war. So this will be our last 
chance of meeting. I had meant only to 
give you a message, but is there any reason 
why I should not see him for a few moments ? 
Surely he would not mind being told that I 
am here ? " 

The woman looked at Miss Vanderlyn with 
a dubious, puzzled expression ; she already 
regarded Major von Buberg's betrothed as 
her future mistress, for had not her dear 
nurseling promised that a corner should 
always be found in his future home for his 
faithful old nurse ? It never occurred to 
Hedwig that Rosie could be ignorant of the 
secret service on which the Major was 
engaged. And yet— ^and yet Hedwig's orders 
were very strict, and never once had she 
broken them. These orders were that never 
was she to admit anyone to her master's 
presence in that house. 

As a matter of fact, Major von Buberg was 
very little there, for from half-past ten in the 
morning till seven each night he was away, 
close by, as Hedwig well knew, but as in- 
accessible as if they had been separated by 
leagues of sea. After coming back from his 
work he ate the simple dinner old Hedwig 
prepared for him, and then spent the rest 
of the evening with his books and a pipe. It 
was a melancholy, monotonous life for any 
intelligent man ; how much more so for a 
brilliant soldier, in time of war. But Major 
von Buberg, as his nurse knew, was engaged 
in a task which was not less important and 
far more delicate than any he could have 
found on active service. 

The fact that this sweet young lady was 
here proved that she also was in the secret — 
that dangerous secret known to so few that, 
as the Major had himself told Hedwig, in all 
Berlin they could be counted on the fingers 
of one hand. 

It was now ten o'clock ; therefore he was 
still here, either in his bedroom, or more 
probably in the spacious study — it had been 



a studio in the days of the English owner 
of the house — where he spent most of his 
time. 

Hedwig Bauer was a simple soul, but she 
had lived long enough in the world to know 
something of love — man's master passion. 
Surely Major von Buberg would not wish his 
beloved Braut to be sent away without seeing 
him, now that she was actually here, in the 
house ? 

" The gracious lady knows where the 
Herr Major spends his days ? " she whispered. 
And Rosie nodded. " Yes," she said, reluc- 
tantly, " I do know that. Is the Herr Major 
already gone to the Castle ? " 

The old woman shook her head. " No," 
she breathed, " he has not gone yet — he 
never does go there till half-past ten. And 
to-day he may be a little later, for to-day is 
to be a busy day — the gracious lady under- 
stands what I mean ? " 

But Rosie did not understand at all — and 
she did not much care. From what her lover 
had told her his secret daily task at the Royal 
Castle was at once monotonous and disagree- 
able, dull and sometimes dangerous. 

She glanced at her jewelled wrist-watch. 
" It is very nearly half-past ten now," she 
exclaimed, " so why shouldn't I wait for him 
here ? Then I shall catch him as he goes 
through the hall." 

Hedwig looked at her, surprised. " But 
the Herr Major never comes down here," she 
exclaimed. " The Herr Major never has to 
go out of doors at all. Surely the gracious 
lady is aware that there is a secret passage from 
this house to the Castle ? " 

" A secret passage ? " repeated Rosie 
Vanderlyn, incredulously. 

The old woman nodded, and a look of 
apprehension came across her fat, wrinkled 
face. " I thought that the gracious lady 
knew that that was so/' she said, confusedly. 
4< I trust the gracious lady will not allow the 
Herr Major to know that I have betrayed one 
of his secrets." 

" Of course not — I won't say anything 
about it ! " answered Rosie. " But Hedwig 
— dear Hedwig!" — she looked very pleadingly 
at her lover's, old nurse — l< surely you can 
go and tell him that I am here — and that I 
long, long to see him, even if only for a 
minute ? He said that I was to communicate 
with him through you if I were in any great 
trouble ; and I am in great trouble." 

The girl covered her face with her hands, 
and through her fingers the tears trickled. 
She felt terribly forlorn. For the first time 
since her betrothal she realized that she was in 



WHAT HAPPENED IN BERLIN. 



209 



a foreign country, among foreign people, and 
that her frank, independent ways were not 
their ways. 

A passionate jealousy of this secret service 
on which her lover was engaged also filled 
her heart. Why was it that this old woman 
knew so much of which she was kept in ignor- 
ance ? But for her own foolish obstinacy she 
would by now have been Max von Buberg's 
wife, and he would have had to trust her. 

" Hedwig ! " she exclaimed, rather imperi- 
ously. " I only ask you to tell me how to 
find the way to the Herr Major's sitting-room. 
I will tell him that I went straight there, 
without asking your leave." She waited a 
moment, then asked, coaxingly, " I suppose 
one has to go up that winding staircase ? " 

" Yes,'* answered Hedwig, tremblingly; 
" you go up the winding staircase, gracious 
lady, then walk straight down the passage 
to the door at the end. You cannot make a 
mistake, for there is but one door, and it 
leads into the room which the English 
rascal who built this house made into a 
studio, but which the Herr Major now uses 
as his study." 

Rosie Vanderlyn did not wait to hear the 
last words, for she was already half-way 
across the hall. 

Swiftly, silently, she ran up the steps of 
the corkscrew staircase. Yes, there was 
the passage, lit by clouded-glass windows, 
straight before her. She walked quickly 
down it, then stopped short before the 
closed door which she knew gave access to 
her lover's sitting-room. 

The closed door looked curiously forbidding. 
Yet surely Max, even if displeased at her 
action in coming here, would be, must be, 
glad to see her ? Still, it was with a feeling of 
painful misgiving that she turned the handle, 
and slowly, very slowly, pushed the door 
open. 

Before her was a long, bare-looking room, 
which had obviously been built for a studio, 
and at the farther end of the room, opposite 
to where she had by now timidly advanced 
to a place under the skylight, were two doors. 
The room was empty, and though there was 
a writing-table, and a few chairs set about 
in the formal German fashion, the apart- 
ment had a most unlived-in look, and though 
the big stove was alight it was very cold. 

The girl's heart suddenly failed her. In a 
flash she realized that what she was now 
doing might appear, in the eyes of her lover, 
an enormity. Had Max von Buberg been 
an American, or even an Englishman, she 
would have walked forward and knocked 



boldly in turn at each of the two closed doors 
before her, but Germans are very conventional 
with regard to the behaviour of their own 
women-kind, whatever they may be with 
regard to that of their acquaintances, and 
they are extremely prudish as to the conduct 
of their wives, of their sisters, and, above 
all, of their fianctes* 

She told herself that perhaps, after all, 
the wisest thing she could now do would be 
to retrace her steps, and simply leave a 
message with Major von Buberg's old nurse 
— in no circumstances could he think that 
either bold or un maidenly ! 

Slowly, with bitter tears welling up in 
her eyes, she turned round, and then, all at 
once, she heard one of the doors behind her, 
at the other end of the long room, swing a 
few inches open, and her lover's voice rang 
out. The tone was eager, good-humoured, 
even jovial. " Hedwig, is that you ? Fetch 
me a glass of hot water at once ! " Then 
followed the astonishing words, which Rosie 
heard distinctly, though it were more as 
though Major von Buberg had muttered 
them to himself, " / cannot get this damned 
moustache to stick on properly t " 

The sound of his dear voice, uttering those 
few words in a tone of such cheerful, careless 
impatience, seemed to blow away the girl's 
vague, unreasoning fear of his displeasure. 
She turned round smiling. 

Again there came the sound of her lover's 
voice, yet she could not see him, for he was 
still behind the half-open door. " Hedwig ! 
Wait a moment, my good soul — I think I've 
got it to stick on all right now ! I'm in a 
great hurry, for there's an audience at a 
quarter-past eleven, and I have first to 

receive some particular instructions ?> 

And, as these last words reached her, the 
door at which she was gazing so eagerly swung 
open, widely. 

And then Rosie Vanderlyn uttered a sharp, 
low cry of surprise and terror, for the man 
she. now saw hastening down the long room 
towards her, clad in a splendid and to her a 
quite unfamiliar uniform, was not her lover, 
but the mighty Emperor, the Kaiser, the 
War Lord himself ! 

With wild eyes she looked beyond the 
strange and terific apparrition, for she could 
hear quick exclamations of joy, of concern, 
of welcoming, of reproof, being uttered in 
Max von Buberg's voice. But, no — there 
was no sign of her betrothed's familiar, re- 
assuring presence, on!y that brilliant, unreal- 
looking 1 jkpTOsi^f 4) F l M CH |i f %'d" mars h a i ,s 

uniform, striding nearer and nearer. 



210 



SHE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



And then T all at 
once, the truth 
burst on the 
American girl with 
stunning force, and 
she saw that the 
nun before her wits 
indeed Max von 
Buberg — Max 
made up as his 
Sovereign's double, 
ready, that is, tu 
take the place and, 
if need be, play 
the part of the 
Emperor himself ! 

A moment later 
any doubt which 
might have lingered 
in her brain was 
set at rest, for she 
knew that the 
arms which were 
now closing round 
her, and pressing 
her eagerly, 
hungrily, to that 
bemedalled, berib- 
boned breast were 
without doubt her 
lovers arms, the 
lips which were 
being pressed lo 
hers, her lover's 
lips. 

Suddenly, with 
a quick, impatient 
movement, he 
raised his hand to 
his mouth j tugged 
at the false mous- 
tache, and half of 
it came off- And 
then Rosie Vander- 
lyn began to laugh, 

to laugh and cry together. In vain she tried 
to stop herself, the tears and the laughter 
would come, gushing, tumbling forth, while 
she heard his anxious, distracted voice 
exclaiming in her ear, " What is the matter, 
darling ? What made you come here, at 
the risk of your life and mine ? I have not 
a moment, for even now I should be at the 
Castle receiving my instructions u — his voice 
dropped — <( from the All Highest. Rosie, 
for Heaven's sake stop laughing ! " 

Rosie made a mighty effort. She tried to 
calm herself, and then in a few breathless 
words she told him why she had come, and 




'VOX BUHERG ! WHAT HAVE WE HERE 



that this must be their last meeting till the 
end of the war. He, on his side, whispered 
in her ear the dread secret she already guessed 
— how he had been chosen on the outbreak 
of war to personate his Emperor whenever it 
was deemed either necessary or advisable, 
" At first it was very seldom, but lately "— 
his voice sank— i( lately it has almost always 
been 1 — and sometimes, Rosie, I have felt 
as if I should go mad — quite mad ! " 

He was too absorbed in what he was saying, 
too agitated with mingled feelings of love and 

f ^ivpmttyFWHfo*l^ t 7 ror whi f 

suddenly flushed over the girl s face as she 



WHAT HAPPENED IX BERLIN. 



211 




WHAT DOES TUB MEAN 



WHO IS TlltS 



RAZjd once more with wild, affrighted eyes 
over her lover's shoulder. 

Down the long room, walking feebly, lean- 
log on a stick , there was now advancing 
slowly the figure of a man dressed in the 
simplest of undress uniforms ; and Rosie knew, 
with a dreadful sureness of knowledge, that 
here, at last, was quite certainly the Emperor 
himself. On his expressive countenance 
there was a look of great astonishment and 
of stern displeasure. 

But, oh ! how strangely and woefully unlike 
he now was to the vision Rosie Vanderlyn 
had retained of the brilliant, debonair 



Kaiser to whom 
she had had the 
delightful honour 
of being presented 
just after her 
betrothal 

The face of the 
man who was now 
approaching nearer 
and nearer to where 
she stood siill 
clasped in her lover's 
arms was blanched, 
his hair streaked 
with grey and white 
strands, and his 
eyes — those eyes 
which Rosie re mem* 
beted so bright and 
so challenging and 
blue with a wonder- 
ful gentian blue n ess 
— now looked dim 
and bloodshot, 
The Kaiser looked 
not only old and 
shrunken, but ill 
almost unto death. 
She did not — she 
could not — speak, 
and that though she 
knew that Max von 
Buberg was still 
unaware of that 
Presence which was 
now so close to 
them both. But 
Ins happy ignorance 
only lasted a 
moment longer, for 
a husky v o i c e 
exclaimed, * Von 
Buberg ! What have 
we here ? What 
does this mean ? 

Who is this— this— "—the voice hesitated, 

then brought out the words , not unkindly— 

+t this young lady ? M 

But' Rosie Vanderlyn did not hear Max 

von Buberg's answer, for she had fainted, 

Rosie awoke to find herself in bed in a 
darkened room. Was she still dreaming ? 
Had she indeed dreamed everything she now 
remembered —her visit to that strange house 
in the Luisastrasse, and the amazing, incred- 
ible adventure which had there befallen her ? 

But Mjm'S^P9FlW^l'&mf he reaIizt ^ 
that she was wide awake, and that ti was all 



212 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



true. Raising herself on her elbow, she 
looked timorously, round. 

Yes, she was lying in a typical German 
bed and in a typical old-fashioned-looking 
German bedroom. It was. dijnly .lit by. one 
tallow candle, and opposite to where she lay 
was a closed door. 

A feeling of numb terror swept over her. 
What was to be her punishment for having 
discovered her lover's dread secret — that 
secret which had not been his to tell, and 
which she had discovered through her own 
folly and disobedience ? 

She lay back, and closed her eyes. And then 
there rose on the stillness the sound of women's 
voices, and with a rush of almost agonized 
relief she recognized that one of them was the 
voice of old Hedwig. 

The door opened slowly and a tall, white- 
haired lady, dressed in mourning, walked into 
the room ; just behind her came old Hedwig, 
tears coursing down her wrinkled, fat face. 

Rosie instinctively closed her eyes as 
Hedwig and the lady walked up to her bed- 
side. They began talking in whispers, and 
the meaning of what they were saying 
gradually stole into the girl's weary and 
excited brain, filling every cranny of it with 
relief and soundless depths of joy, for very 
soon it became clear to her that she, Rosie 
Vanderlyn, instead of being punished for 
what she had done, was to be married to 



Max von Buberg within an hour from now 
in the chapel of the old Castle. ■" : 

And then the soft, full voice with which 
she was unfamiliar said, doubtfully, " But 
do you really think she will be fit to go through 
the ceremony this very night ? She looks 
so flushed and feverish, poor girl." 

And the nurse gave a confident answer. 
" Yes, your Majesty, yes ; without a doubt 
she will be fit. She is now sleeping quite 
naturally." •■• 

Rosie heard the old woman move away, 
and a moment later Hedwig came back hold- 
ing the candle. She held it over the bed, 
and Rosie, opening her eyes, smiled. 

Could it be really true that the Empress, 
whom she had always longed she might some 
day see face to face, was standing there, 
looking down at her. full of concern and, 
yes, with a good deal of feminine curiositv 
too? 

" Have you heard what we have been 
saying, my child ? " 

And Rosie blushed deeply. " Yes, I have 
heard everything," she said, falteringly. 

" And do you feel that you will be well 
enough to go through the ceremony ? " 

And Rosie said " Yes," with all her heart. 

Then for the first time the Empress spoke 
in English. " Love ? " she said, gently. 
" Love laughs at locksmiths, and overrides 
even martial law ! " 



ACROSTICS. 

The last of tte Quarter. 



DOUBLE ACROSTIC Xo. 11. 

One in the North, one in the South, they stand. 
Two English counties, one on either hand. 

1. Bold, resolute, and— it will be agreed— 
Romantic character in very deed. 

2. To-ttine at present seems to point the way 
To name from which two letters have to stray. 

3. Ifo may possess a bike, perhaps a moke : 
She wa=» his fancy ; it can puzzle folk. 

4. Heroic slave, enamoured of a queen. 
(Her ancle* can be very neaily seen.) 

5. A bird, but not a lady bird, is he ; 
A man he was. in ancient history 

C. Although a word or two would seem to show 
That William was observed, it is not so. 

PAX. 



DOl'BLU ACROSTIC Xo. 12. 

Two English poets grace our page, 
Aa once they graced an earlier age. 

1. Remove one letter from a bird. 

2. " Warrior, valiant "—headless word. 

3. A certain sound this indicates 

4. To certain letters this relates. 

5. One letter U sufficient now, 

6. Here one wiped " swear-drop.; from his brow.' 

PAX. 



Answer to Xo. ft. 



Ass web to Xo l(t. 



1. 
2. 

3. 
4. 
B. 
6. 
7. 



uf 

n c 

o o 

u s 
e v e r i 
I n q u i s i t o 
Af es 



P 
I 
L 
G 
R 



F 
A 
T 
H 
E 
R 
S 



o u s e t o 

rator 
e n e 



H 
O 
R 

S a u s a g 
E d i t o 
Xote. — Light 1 
verbs xxi. 9. 



P 
() 
W 
E 
U 
Pro- 



An*toer8 to Acrostics 11 and 12 should be addressed to the Acrostk I 
Street Strand, London. W.C.. and must arrire not Inter than by th> first \ 



rand Magazine, Soittliamplon 



Ttrt anxwrt miy b? *?'ti to every light. 

W'it'i th-ir a°ts:r*rs t> /W? /vm* acrostic*, to'vrrs are requested 



mmm^mmi^ 



An Unpublished Letter 
or Lewis Carroll. 



By DYMPHNA ELLIS. 




HIS curious little letter, be- 
lieved to be unique among 
the literary remains of Lewis 
Carroll, has come to light, 
after lying for a generation 
or two in an 
old desk. It 1 
was written by him for a 
child friend, and is one more 
instance of his imaginative 
sympathy with the child's 
mind, and of the trouble he 
would take to give pleasure 
to one of them. It was sent 
with a presentation copy of 
a number of the charming 
serial, "Aunt Judy's 
Magazine/' the number 
containing the little story of 
"Sylvie and Bruno," after- 
wards worked into the longer 
book of that name. It 
purports to have been writ- 
ten by the fairy " Sylvie," 
and I do not think any of us then doubted the 
reputed authorship, the charm of our friend- 
ship with the author being, that he created 
round himself and us an " atmosphere " 
which made the things of the imagination 
even more real than the rice puddings and 
Holland pinafores of the 
period. 

The writing is so 
minute, that it is barely 
readable by the naked 
eye, and might have 
l*en written with a 
needle point — one can- 
not imagine a pen small 
enough — and the ink is 
h little faded. It shows, 
however, all the charac- 
ter of the handwriting 
which some of us knew 
so well. 

Looking back through 
the years I find that, 
though Mr. Dodgson 
was the arch-playmate, 
1 can give no definite 



iLj 



■* * r *»— *~ •*< «* * •«*/, *~ J*m* 
•»* dm* jm 0*. t*+££tfm*m* «*••* -mm* ^ «f 



THIS REPRODUCTION OF LEWI* 
CARROLL'S CURIOUS LITTLE 
LETTER IS EXACTLY THE SAME 
SIZE* AS THE ORIGINAL. IT 

APPEARS IN PRINT BELOW. 



reason why he was so. Part of the charm, 
I think, was a certain mystery which 
surrounded himself and his doings. His 
traffic with the fairies seemed a very definite 
thing to us then. He was, so to speak, the 
link between them and us, 
the " middleman " in fact, 
and the Interpreter. He 
would produce from his 
treasures mysterious toys, 
such as can now be bought 
for a penny in the street, but 
in his day were rare things 
of fearful joy — such as little 
heaps of brown wrinkled 
rubber, which, being in- 
flated, swelled out into very 
aweful serpents, who flew 
across the room, subsiding 
in a corner with a muffled 
screech. All these doings 
enlivened the hated task 
of being photographed, for 
making pictures of the 
children was ever the object of his visits, 
and was a severe trial, even though we 
knew it pleased him. When playing with 
these toys and puzzles he was wont to 
say, " But then I am called Podgeson " 
(sounding the silent " g " in the name) 
" because I am so full of 
dodges!" It is curious 
how all he said and 
did still lives in the 
memory after all these 
years. 

We, the survivors 
of his child-friends, do 
not forget him, and 
though, so far, we look 
in vain for a statue 
of "Alice " beside 
"Peter Pan" in 
Kensington Gardens, we 
love to think that 
his name will be 
remembered by English 
rfo5Mnr.i at least as 

ltt<WAfttfl€!W f Shakl " 

pea re. 



Dec. 2, 1867. 
Dear Miss Dymphna, 

As Mr. Dodgson has asked 
me to write for him, I send these 
few lines to say that he has 
sent you a copy of " Aunt Judy's 
Magazine," that you may read 
the little story he has written 
about Bruno and me. Dear 
Miss Dymphna, if you will come 
down into our wood, I shall be 
very glad to see you, and I will 
show you the beautiful garden 
Bruno made for me. 

Your affectionate little fairy <0\\ 
friend, S ylvie. 




SLEEPING 
OUT. 



3j> 
EDWIN L. SABIN. 




■ 



E got the notion from a news- 
paper article. " By Jove ! " 
he said, " Why can't we try 
that ourselves ! I believe it 
would do us both good* 
Maybe we aren't getting air 
enough at nights." 
With the doors and windows wide open, 
I had thought that we were getting all 
the air we could breathe, and so I ventured 
to suggest j but Man - of - the - House was 
obsessed, 

" It's impossible to get the full amount of 
fresh air , no matter how many doors and 
windows there are/ 3 he informed me. H The 
dead air collects in pockets. Anyway, I'm 
going to think this over." 

That night we had air enough, so that he 
got up arid shut down a window ; but the 
next evening he came home inspired. 

" Saw Thompson to-day/' he buoyantly 
asserted. " Thompson says he and his wife 
have been sleeping out for .six months. They 
couldn't be made to sleep indoors again. It's 
great, positively great ! He says you get up 
in the morning feeling like a prize-fighter, 
His wife wasn't a good sleeper before. Now 
she sleeps right through the night. She's 
crazy about it. He says you ought to talk 
with her about it. It's cured them both of 
catching cold. He says you'd never believe 
there could be such a difference between 
outdoor sleeping and indoor sleeping until 
you've tried it. Doors and windows simply 
create a draught. They sleep out, rain or 
snow, doesn't matter what the weather. He 
says if you've any doubts you ask his wife," 
" Where do they sleep, dear ? " I meekly 
inquired, 

" Have a regular sleeping veranda upstairs^ 



off their bedroom. Screened on three sides 7 
that's all." 

" When should we sleep, then ? " 

" Why, we've a veranda, haven't we ? " 

u But it's downstairs/' I reminded him. 

" What's the difference ? Nobody can see 
us* If we move a few things to one side we 
can get two beds in there easily ♦ We can 
have one end of it screened in. Then the 
milkman wouldn't bother us. It would be a 
nice place for you to sit during the day, too/' 
he cunningly added. 

" But it's so exposed , dear/' I pleaded. 

" We can undress in the house/' he said, 
Ht and then skip out to bed in our dressing- 
gowns. Nobody '11 see us. And in the 
morning we'll be up early, to skip inside 
again and dress. Thompson says I hey 
always get up early. The light wakes them. 
And five hours' sleep outdoors counts for 
more than ten in any bedroom/' 

I yielded to Man-of-the-House* His en- 
thusiasm w F as rather contagious. He spent 
the rest of the evening on the veranda 
measuring and planning. Every difficulty 
vanished like the fog before the sun. Nothing 
was easier than to screen in that end of our 
front veranda. The carpenter could do the 
work in a day, and so he did ; before Man-of- 
the-House arrived home from his day's 
drudgery., athirst for fresh air ? the two beds 
had been set up with their mattresses and 
covered with their serviceable army blankets. 

" Oughtn't we to have curtains ? " I 
hazarded. u Don't the Thompsons have 
curtains ? " 

" Yes/' said Man-of-t he -House ; " but they 
don't i^j*fim-iJCQastuffy* Fresh air is what 

ijiytftHWff ^F^PPffi*** rpy 5 t ^ iat ™ u s ' ee P 

id or rain or snow 



SLEEPING OUT. 



21 5 



or anything. That's the beauty of sleeping 
out — you get hardy." 

On that memorable first night Man-of-the- 
House preceded me, and hopped right blithely 
in between his covers. I followed. 

" Great, isn't it ? " proffered from his bed 

Man-of-the-House. " Breathe this air ? See 

those stars ? Almost as good as camping 

out." 

; ". Are you warm enough, dear ? " I queried, 

• cautiously. 

u Fine," he murmured. " Thompson says 
you don't need as many bedclothes outdoors 
as in. Your system's invigorated — more 
resistance power — fresh air — " and his voice 
trailed off in vagueness. 

After the people at a party next door had 
dispersed, and none of them had looked in 
on us en route, I finally went to sleep. 

I couldn't have been asleep very long when 
desperate creakings from the Man-of-the- 
House bed awakened me. 

" What are you doing, dear ? " I demanded. 

" The blamed bedclothes are all out at the 
foot," he growled, panting with his unseen 
labours. " Why don't vou sleep ? " 

" It's raining, Ralph!" I proclaimed. "We 
ought to go in." 

u No ! " he grunted. " What do we care ? 
Rain won't hurt us. Thompson says they 
enjoy it." 

" But it'll make our beds all wet." 

" No, it won't. Supposing it does. These 
blankets are waterproof. Be game." 

With the thought of the hardy Mrs. Thomp- 
son to embolden me I resolved to wait for 
another forty winks. The echo of a loud noise 
brought me up, half-sitting, heart beating, 
eyes staring. And the rain was now raining 
into my face. I really wasn't sure of the 
noise ; but I was sure of the rain, and the noise 
might have been thunder. The rain was 
drifting right across my bed, and my hair was 
wet, and the breeze made an eerie sound. So 
did Man-of-the-House, who was slumbering 
slothfully and irritatingly. Whether he was 
getting wet or not, he must be aroused to the 
situation. 

" What's the matter ? " he sleepily re- 
sponded. 

" It's raining right in on us," I informed 
him. " I'm going in." 

" Let it rain," he asserted. " Can't hurt 
us. Thompson says he likes it. Good for the 
complexion." 

" They have curtains, though," I protested. 
" My hair's all wet." (Wet hair is an abomin- 
able thing to sleep in — so clammy and un- 
tidy.) " I'm going in." And I prepared to 



pick up my bed and walk, if I only could find 
those bed slippers. 

" Hold on ! " he cried. ' " 'Tisn't raining 
much. It's just a little shower. You aren't 
going back into that stuffy bedroom, are 
you ? " 

" I am," I assured him ; " I'm going where 
I can be dry at least." 

Would I never get a toe into cne of those 
slippers ? How disgusting ! And meanwhile, 
the rain was industriously sprinkling me. 
Man-of-the-House implored more briskly. 

w Wait till I get a light," he essayed. 

" You'll do ho such thing," I forbade, in 
alarm. I could hear our neighbours up and 
closing windows. 

Ah ! One slipper. 

" Well, it isn't 'raining in the middle of the 
veranda," he said. " Really it isn't." His 
bed creaked and other poignant noises suc- 
ceeded. 

" What are you doing ? " I asked. 

" Moving my bed farther towards the wall. 
Stay where you are and I'll move yours. 
There's not the slightest sense in going in. 
Thompson ' ' 

Having furiously dragged his bed about, 
advertising us far and wide, he grabbed mine, 
with me helpless in it, and after a volume of 
earthquake shocks and strident gratings I was 
moved also. 

" There," he puffed. " Now you're all 
right. The rain can't reach you." 

" Thank you, dear," I consented. I had 
no idea where I had been relocated. I heard 
Man-of-the-House search with hands and feet 
for his own bed and tumble in. 

" Great, isn't it ?" he vouchsafed. " Fine 
for lungs and complexion. Thompson says 
there's nothing like a rainy night to make you 
sleep. And you can't catch cold." 

" My pillow's wet," I remarked. 

" Don't turn it over," ordered Man-of-the- 
House. " Wait till after the r^in, Thompson 
says, or both sides will get wet." 

Man-of-the-House snoozed off. I followed 
— having first turned my pillow dry side up. 
Long-postponed sleep stole upon my uneasy 
nerves ; I was going — going — gone, and 
rambling afield, when more convulsions from 
the bed of Man-of-the-House ruthlessly jerked 
me back. 

" What's the matter ? " I inquired. 

" Pshaw ! " he deplored. " Did I wake 
you ? I was trying to be quiet. It's raining 
in on my face now, so I'm making up my bed 
the other w@yj cftgftjffi [r Want yours made? 
Doesn't matter .WmjlU you know. 
These blankets won t soak through. 



>^ 



2l6 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



'LI shall not have this bed made up for the 
third time, or moved/' I decreed. " It's all 
in pieces as it is. If I knew where the door 
was I'd go in." 

"Oh, be. game," challenged Man-of-thc- 
House. " The Thompsons would laugh at us 
if we went inside for this little rain. We'll get 
some curtains to-morrow if you still want 'em. 
G'night." 

" Good night, dear," I replied. The clock 
had just struck three. The rain mist occa- 
sionally tickled my nose, so I drew my blanket 
entirely over. Sufficient fresh air leaked 
through, I am sure. I wondered if the blanket 
was waterproof. 

" Thompson says — " murmured Man-of-the- 
House ; and inasmuch as my ears and all were 
muffled I did not care what Mr. Thompson 
.said. 

We ought to have wakened again in a 
couple of hours, to scuttle in before people 
were up and about and gazing. But the night 
had been so disturbed, and the fresh air was 
so soporific, that when I did wake it was 
broad day, and with a heart-thump I realized 
that we had overslept. Why, the sun had 
risen ; likewise Mr. Franckle, our neighbour ! 
I heard him whistling as he fed his chickens ; 
and I heard Mrs. Franckle talking to him — 
and I smelled coffee. 

" Goodness ! " I hastily thought. " Man- 
of-the-House and I must retire at once from 
public view." A sheet would be advisable ; 
a dressing-gown may not sit ill upon a man, 
but my Puritan ancestry insisted that a 
woman employ something more dissembling 
on a front veranda. 

" Ralph ! " I whispered, as loudly as I 
dared. 

He stirred, without opening an eye — and 
the sun was shining full on his face and into 
his mouth. 

" Ralph ! Please ! " 

His mouth moved slightlv. 

" All right." 

" We must get up ! " I warned. " Come." 

" In a minute." 

" But people will see us. Don't you know 
it's day ? We've overslept."' 

He seemed lost to shame. Still, he couldn't 
sleep long with that sun on his face ; so, 
wrapping myself Indian-wise in my army 
blanket, I peered for my slippers. They were 
both under his bed. I fished for them, 
to flee. 

What I said next made Man-of-the-House 
open his eves in earnest. 

" Ralph ! The door is locked ! " 

" Who locked it ? " he demanded. 



" Nobody. The wind shut it. I remember 
now. That was what waked me." 

" I didn't hear it," asserted Man-of-the- 
House. 

" I did. And it's locked. We can't get in 
— out, I mean." 

" Sure it's locked ? " 

" Yes, of course. The spring latch was on. 
W T hat shall we do ? " A squad of workmen 
trooped noisily up the street on our side ; 
their view into our veranda was near and 
uninterrupted — I fairly dived back into bed, 
wet blanket and all. I don't think the work- 
men saw me ; but they laughed. 

4< Funny that it should shut," uttered 
Man-of-the-House. " What did you let it 
for?" 

" I didn't let it shut. How could I ? " 

" Why didn't vou tell me at the time ? " 

" I didn't know." 

He lay "basking, and eyed the door. " Sure 
it's locked ? " he repeated. 

" Didn't I say so ? " 

" Did you try it ? " 

" Of course I tried it ! You saw me over 
there. I want to get in — or out." 

Moments were fleeting. The sun was 
higher. Soon the tradesmen would come for 
orders, or Mr. Franckle begin with his lawn 
mower on our side of his lawn. 

Man-of-the-House sat up, dangled his 
feet over the edge of his bed, and rubbed his 
head. 

" I'll be hanged," he proffered vacantly. 

" Ralph ! " I hissed, " Mr. Fratockle is 
looking right at you ! " 

" I can't help it. He's seen pyjamas 
before." 

" But not out on verandas." 

Man-of-the-House negligently invested 
himself with his blanket, whence his head 
protruded, turtle-like. I had the sickening 
sensation of being animals — a pair of animals 
— in a zoo cage. Around us was the pro- 
menading ground for spectators ; and we 
had no escape, no seclusion — unless we could 
crawl under our beds, as into a den. 

The blank expression upon the visage of 
Man-of-the-House was maddening. 

" What are we going to do ? " I urged. 

" Can't you give me time to think ? " he 
rebuked. 4C I'll yell over to Franckle. I 
can tell him how to get in through the cellar 
window, and he can come up and unlock 
the door." 

Call on Mr. Franckle ! Call, and let him 
march clear across, to us in bed, on our 
veranda, by daylight, and request him to 
crawl through a cellar window and let us 



SLEEPING OUT. 



217 



out ? N&t muck 1 A rich morsel for neigh- 
bourhood gossip that would be ! 

" You absolutely shall not call Mr, 
Franckle," I opposed. Thank goodness Mr, 
Franckle had disappeared, " Don't you 
dare to call anybody* Do act intelligently. 
What time do you think it is ? Pretty soon 
people will be arriving — -the postman* And 
it's washing day, too, Mrs, Mulligan will 
be here at eight o'clock to do the washing. 
Can't you climb over the transom ? n 

He eyed the transom reflectively and 
blinking ly. It was partially open ; locked, 
of course, in that position. 

" Squeeze through there, head first ? " he 
queried. " Well, I don't see how* I'm no 
sylph," 

" Then can't you tear a hole through 
the screening , and go round and crawl 
through the cellar window yourself ? n 

11 What do you think I have on ? " rebuked 
Man -of- 1 he-House* " Football clothes ? A 
pretty sight I'd be after bursting through that 
screen in my pyjamas, to try the cellar 
window ! Happens to be the coal-cellar 
window, on the Franckle side, too. No, 
thanks," 

He reluctantly arose, with a manner that 
seemed to blame me for letting the door slam, 
and stalked about our little enclosure for all 
the world like a bear inspecting its bars, 

" Tight as a drum," he complained. 
" Suppose we wait for Mrs, Mulligan, and 
let her get help," 

" Mrs, Mulligan sometimes is late and 
doesn't get here till nine," I informed him. 
" I don't propose to be on exhibition till that 
hour. Can't you ram a hole with the bed-? " 

" And come up through the coal-cellar ? 
Not if I know it. 
But I'll try the 
transom if you'll 
gi% f e me a lift up*" 

" How can I 
give you any lift 
up? I'm going to 
stay where I am 
until that door's 
opened." 

" All you need 
to do is to sit 
up and let mc 
stand on your 
shoulders/' 
suggested M a n - 
of-t he-House. 
" You can keep 
your blanket 

round you." 
vot fa.— m 



" Can't you stand on the head of a bed, 
dear ? " I faltered. For us to pose as pyra- 
midal tumblers did not appeal to me* And 
Ralph weighs nearly fourteen stone — and 
a blanket wouldn't be much pudding. But 
the beds had headrails which looked strong 
enough, 

" You'll have to hold the thing steady 
then," bade Man-of-the-House, 

So we shoved a bed into position under 
the transom ; I crouched as low as I could, 
and with one look about to pray that the 
coast was clear firmly grasped the headrail, 
Ralph gingerly mounted, 

" Your blanket, dear ! " I gasped. 

" 1 can't work in any blanket," he growled. 

Thank heaven, the coast was clear. Mr. 
Franckle was nowhere in sight^ and nobody 
was passing. Of course, people probably 
were peering out of their windows. 




" HZ LOOKED AS 



-iginalfrom 



2l8 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



I anxiously clutched I he head rail and 
watched Ralph. .Balancing on tiptoe, he 
did look too funny, as he reached and grunted 
and tugged at the screen over the transom. 
The screen was old ; with a wrench that 
almost threw him backward he tore it loose 
— and then he recklessly dropped it- No 
screen ever made more noise. Why, it 
sounded like ! 

" Ralph ! 5J I cried, in dismay. But the 
deed had been done* Now he was grunting 
afresh and pulling and pushing at the transom 
itself* It sprang and creaked. Oh, wouldn't 
it give way ? 

il Can't you move it, dear ? " I implored 
— for to hold that headrail was rather 
difficult. 

u Confounded— thing ! " he panted, and 
with a ripping squeak it did give way j he 
had broken the rod attachment, so that — 
goodness !— the transom swung* free. 

He attempted to climb up and in. By 
this time his pyjamas were well above his 
ankles, and as he struggled a serious gap 
widened at his waist line. He hoisted him- 
self j and lifted first one foot and then the 
other, grunting painfully* It seemed to 
be necessary for him to prop the transom 
open with his neck and one hand, until he 
could put a leg — he was undecided which 
leg— up in beside his head, so that he could 
turn round in the transom space and descend 



on the other side, feet first, or at least foot 
first. The rest of him would follow. 

ThiSj plainly, was intricate ; and I could 
only hope and watch his contortions and 
listen to him grunt, while I held the rail with 
all my strength and guided his slipperless 
feet hack to it after he made his vain little 
jumps. His legs were awfully dan^ly and 
haphazard, and kept me busy — and suddenly 
I heard a voice , near — very near, 

" Can I be of any assistance ? w 

It startled me, I uttered a shriek and 
turned j and there, on the lawn just outside 
our cage,, stood Mr. Franekle, smiling blandly ! 

14 Oh, no ! " I gasped, uncivilly, •' Go 
away ! We're only trying to get in — out., I 
mean. Please go away ! 

At that instant issued from Man-of-t he- 
House an appalling burst of exclamations 
and queries. He had kicked the rail down, or 
it had fallen, while my grasp had been loosened, 
and now he hung, wildly feeling for it with his 
bare feet, and the transom had slipped and 
had closed on the back of his neck. Both 
hands were clawing at it and endeavouring 
to hold fast. He looked as if he were being 
guillotined ! 

" Yes ! ,f I frenziedly hailed of Mr, Franckle, 
who had politely turned away. " Crawl in 
through the coal-cellar window^, quick t 
Ralph is caught. He was trying to get in 
and open our door. It's locked. Do hurry ! ? * 




Original from 

AFTER HIS PASSAGE OF TliE COAL-CELXWl^'wi'SDW^'HI*' W^i'^SiGlfT.* 



SLEEPING OUT, 



219 



Off hastened Mr. Franckle. I clutched Mrn- 
of-t he-House by the ankles to support him, 
" Watt a moment/' I begged. (i Mr. 



Franckle's 
He'll help 
" Holy 
House* 4£ 
No! Let 



gone 

f » 



through 
you " 

thunder 1 ** gurgled 
Hold me up ! Can't 
go of me. You're 
so. Can't 



the coat-cellar 



Man-of-the- 
you shove ? 
hauling me 
you poke 



tighter. Don't pull 
This transom loose ? " 

But I couldn't , being even shorter than he. 
He loosened it himself— and beating a mighty 
tattoo with his feet and knees, as he squirmed, 
he hammered the door ajar ! I saw it vibrate, 
it yielded a quarter of an inch at the top, 
and with a glad cry I sprang at it. 

l< Ralph I The door's open I It wasn't 
locked, after all," And it wasn't ! It had 
only warped with the rain, 

Down came Man-of-the-House in 
bounced high, landed again, and 
rubbing his neck* As for me, '. 
dashed within, 



minutes 
prec ious j 
of course. 



m 



were 

and, ' 
in the 
middle of the 
dining-room, I met 
the breathless Mr. 
Franckle. 

After his passage 
of the coaln:ellar 
window he was a 
sight ; but this was 
no situation for a 
parley* 

"So sorry," I 
said, circling by* " Ralph opened it. We 
so enjoy sleeping out. We thought it was 
locked. If you'll excuse me ,J 

M Certain ly," panted the polite Mr, Franckle* 
" Not at all, not at all. Delighted, I'm sure." 

And then, praise be, I was safely on the 
stairs at last. From the bedroom above 
I heard Man-of-the-House. " Sorry to have 
troubled you, old man. But this sleeping* 
out idea is great. We never minded the 
lain a bit. Why don't you and Mrs, Franckle 
rig up some sort of a place ? '* He hospitably 
released Mr. Franckle by the back door, and 
came upstairs himself. 

We weren't at all discouraged. At any 
rate, Man-of-the-House wasn't ; and while 
he anointed his toes and knees and neck and 
we dressed, and Man-of-the-House, in his 
superabundant energy, shaved off the new 
moustache he had been cultivating for a 
week, we discuss J ways and means of 
givbg us more seclusion from people and 




a heap, 

sat up, 

craven ly 



IN HIS SUPERABUNDANT ENERGY HE SHAVED OFF THE NEW 
MOUSTACHE HE HAD BEEN CULTIVATING.' 



the elements when we resumed our sleeping 
out* As £or feeling like a prize-fighter, well, 
I did — like some prize-fighters after the battle* 
And Ralph looked it, 

That afternoon Mrs. Thompson called. 
She didn't owe me a call ; she came, she said, 
because she understood that we, too, were 
sleeping out of doors, and she wanted to hear 
if we enjoyed it. 

" Oh, thoroughly 1 ? I assured her. tl We 
enjoyed even the rain on us, Our blankets 
are waterproof, you know." 

* You don't mean you slept out in the rain, 
do you ? M she asked, amazed, • •' 

" Yes, indeed,' 1 1 proudly answered, M And 
you do, too, don't you ? ' But we haven't 
even curtains," 

" Mercy, no ! " ejaculated Mrs. Thompson* 
" When it begins to rain we always go inside 
at once, where we can be comfortable. The 
curtains are apt to flap, a Ad things get damp, 
and we ]lnd[ftfe|i|I^Fi^ inside." 




THE 

^ WHIMSICALITIES 

OF 

ALICK P.F.RITCHIE. 




MR. ALICK P. F. HITCHIE. 
t'f'flo, h-t lh« Pembraii Miuiiu*. 



R. ALICK RITCHIE, as 
readers of The Strand Maga- 
zine have recently had special 
opportunities of appreciating, 
does not lack inventiveness. 
His ingenious portraits of 
celebrities made up of straight 
lines, squares, circles, and other geometrical 
figures are well known, and his sly travesties 
of the Cubists, the Futurists, and oilier 
eccentric products of the modern movement 
in art have caused unholy joy to the honest, 
if sometimes despised, Philistine. He has a 
Puck-like gift of freakishness, and a talent 
for pictorial practical joking that is truly 
impish* 

It would be difficult to discuss Mr, Ritchie's 
humour seriously, and the paradox shall not 
be attempted* He would probably be as 




hjVu 




loath to claim his comic drawings as Art 
(with a capital A) as a low comedian To pre- 
tend to rank with Mrs, Siddons, He reminds 
one, indeed, of the music-hall performer .who 
keeps his audience amused with a nimble 
succession of witty ki ^ags " and ingenious 
" stunts/ 3 and such jargon of the stage seems 




VON TiftPITZ, THE MAN OF US — FOR WHOM 

GERMANY HAS NOW NO USE. 

lij pennintea of " The Hs/xtirruler," 



OL'ITE A hIMPLE IHlNli- UY THE MAP. 
Jiff jKr - ijLtiiJn#ii of " Tht lijfUtiiuler.'' 

well adapted to his peculiar style. The 
neat retort, the apt comment, are always on 
the tip of his tongue — or, at least, upon the 
point of his pen — and the " gag " comes pat, 
no matter what the incident which prompts it. 
This readiness has been well exemplified 
by Mr. Ritchie's contributions to the pictorial 
humours of the war. Nothing could be 
happier, for example, than the portrait which 
we reproduce of Von Tirpitz, The German 
admiral has received countless attentions from 
the caricatuTjif&j|-pf| fff^fal and allied coun- 



THE WHIMSICALITIES OF ALICK P. F. RITCHIE. 



2*1 




STILL HOLDING THEIR OWN AIX ALONG THE LINE. 



world-wide celebrity^ but no better 
image of him £ia$ ever been devised 
than this. As a likeness one may 
fairly claim that it is U-nique ! 

Equally cunning and ingenious is 
the portrait of the Crown Prince 
entitled " Quite a Simple Thing — by 
the Map." It is a simple thing — so 
simple that one wonders at a first 
glance why nobody else happened to 
think of it. But consider the sketch 
carefully and you will find it is not 
quite so easy as it looks. Except for 
■ the hat, which is superimposed as a 
finishing touch, there is not a line in 



the entire figure that is not obtained 
out of a perfectly st might forward 
writing of the words Calais - Dover- 
London. The calligraphy is perfect, 
h fact, and so is the portrait. And 
as a crowning touch the " sim- 
plicity" of the facial expression is 
quite brilliant. 

Another ingenious pictorial pun is 
the sketch of the Allies, in the guise 
of clothes-pegs, " holding their own " 
(to wit, their national flags) " all 
along the line " — that line which 
stretches across Europe from the 
North Sea to the Adriatic, 

This is an excellent instance of 
the artist's alertness in detecting a 
covert jest. 





ft_tl;rist cricket. 

Mention lias already been made of Mr. Ritchie's 
feud with the Cubists— if that can be called a feud 
which is a campaign scarcely of ridicule even, but 
rather of gentle raillery. 

There is a special interest in these guerrilla attacks 
by a humorist upon his solemn victims, because there 
is reason to believe that Mr, Ritchie was himself the 
first artist to adopt the straight-lines-and-curves 
convention which before the war had become in one 
form or another so fashionable among the ultra- 
modern. 

Readers with good memories may recall some 
of Alick Ritchie's efforts along these lines (and 
curves) which appeared in Pick -Me- Up during 



A STUDY IN STRAIGHT LINES AND 

curves. the brilliant days of that now defunct periodical. 

-Well, gnclc, I can hardly hetkv* you are A * essa y s j n M ™ffS^ ?* 

in straightened circumstances.' 1 cleverest thmgfelfTOttKblTefrw Mrcml'.jwpetrator ha * 



222 



THE STRASD MAGAZINE. 



evolved, and the chief, if not the only, dif- 
ference between them and the works of our 
latter-day geniuses is that while Mr. Ritchie 




GERMAN " SCBMAR1N 
/*V pernuniim vf } TO 

did his for a joke, 
his successors (or 
dare one say imi- 
tators ?) do theirs 
as a kind of rite. 

The reader can 
judge for himself, 
from the example 
of these early pic- 
torial jests on 
the previous page, 
the resourceful- 
ness of the artist 
who invented 
them. Another 
amusing skit at 
the expense of the 
eccentric moderns 
is the drawing 
called li Futurist 
Cricket/ 1 with its 
grotesque p o r- 
1 raits of W, G. 
Grace batting and 
Rudyard Kipling 
keeping wicket. 

To revert, how- 
ever, to the war, 
which has laid 
Cubism j Futurism , 
and all kindred 



ES ARE A REAL DANGER 

skipping.- riMiM itair 




HKKORE THE WAR - fiERMAN S| 
tiff mrmittion o/l TARGET PR AC 



GERMANS PRACTISING FIRST AIl> TO THE 
Hit ptrriitfdiGN of ] T> ROW N IN G . " L " " Sevia Pietoria '. * 

" isms M temporarily, if not permanently, on 
the shelf. That Vlr. Ritchie has a pretty 

gift of Irony and 
satire, as well as 
fun, is shown by 
several of the 
drawings in these 
pages* For irony 
one may commend 
the sketch which 
illustrates the 
simple statement : 
*' German * s u b- 
marines * area 
real danger to 
shipping," Ger- 
many has boated 
much of the havoc 
which her under- 
water craft would 
work, at sea, but 
we may plausibly 
doubt whether she 
ever contemplated 
the reinforcement 
of U-boats by 
Zeppelins in the 
manner which the 
artist has so dryly 
indicated. 

As to satire, 

even a Hun should 

L wince at the 

aginary picture 



SBBH.iiagapEA 



r 



THE WHIMSICALITIES OF ALICK P. F, RITCHIE. 



«3 




FROM THE rHARY OF A PRUSSIAN SOLDIER; 

'"Tins morning, single-handed, I have confiscaied 
the enemas Food supplies*" 
iff pcrmiuion 0/ " Lomdvm MniL"' 

of German soldiers engaging in target 
practice in preparation for war. Children,, 
lvalues, women } and old men are the effigies 
upon which the marksmen's skill is whetted, 
while for the artillery there is provided the 
silhouette of a distant church. A cartoon 
such as this ought to seem the vain and 




BOW IT FEELS TO MERE MAN." 
Bjf pcrin urion 0/ ' 'Landau Opinio*, ** 

rather foolish gibe of a scurrilous foe; it is 
an awful reflection that the recorded doings 
of the Germans in Belgium, Poland, and 



indeed in every theatre of war, give it dire 
point and justification, A companion piece 
of satire shows M German sailors practising 
1 first aid to the drowning/ ** The chastise- 
ment it inflicts is that of the bludgeon 
rather than the rapier* but with the record 
of German vessels in the matter of saving 
lives at sea — even those of women and 
children — fresh in our memory, who shall 
say it is not more than merited ? 

Less grim, yet biting enough in its sarcasm, 
is the sketch which illustrates an entry in the 
diary of a Prussian soldier. " This morning, 
single-handed^ I have confiscated the enemy's 
food supplies." The gallant riiirist is se?n 




The OpttmisL The Pessimi.t. 

ZEPPELIN EXPRESSIONS, 
B* permtuio* 0/ H Tht Jutland '**■."' 

enjoying the spoils of vie tor j% while the 
4t enemy" is seen bewailing his loss with a 
vehemence that would be laughable were it 
not pathetic. 

With his portraits of the Zeppelin optimist 
and pessimist* however, Mr. Ritchie reverts 
to the exuberant vein in which he is more 



r 



4. 










. . i'OTP ... « 




mm^mmi,.,. 



224 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 




Old Father William 

" Tkt F.mffrpr Agt *£tJ jrw*fr k and kit fair k*t f*r*tJ uitur "— o*tL T 1 



*Y<hi -re old, Father WiLW lh ■ 
Kti brcrirw very while ; 
AikJ yet Yi*J iftceiiantly batter your 
it ii rishi > " 



yming man said, "ani your hair 
head, Do you think »i yauf age 




"At ihc «iart.' Father William replied ta in* p m, " I feared it might 

injur? my brain ; 
But. how I ha I I'm perfectly iiirr 1 have nonr, why, 1 d > it igam and 

mm/ — A ike im WJ+mdtrimMdL 



f-iy }r\mnuivm of " lh* Sj/iUttvirr/' 

familiar. Grotesquely as the opposing types 
are portrayed, one cannot fail to recognize 
them both as intimate acquaintances. 

It would be strange if Mr, Ritchie had been 
able to keep his hands off the Kaiser— we 
do not speak literally , though we have little 
doubt that, if such a glorious opportunity 
were given him, the artist^ invention would 
quickly devise a new and appropriate 
41 stunt 3t for the occasion ! But that he 
has made no attempt to resist the temptation 
to commit that crime of lise-majesti which 
is s.0.. heitiQUS an offence in the eyes of the 



)gle 



solemn Teuton is evident from 
the two lapses given here. In the 
one case we have a parody of 
Tenniel's familiar illustrations to 
the poem of " Old Father Wil- 
liam," as recited by the immortal 
Alice, Father William becomes 
Kaiser William in Mr. Ritchie's adap- 
tation, while the inquiring youth who 
plied his aiicd relative with such 
persistent and impertinent questions 
is replaced by the Crown Prince, who 
is admirably endowed by Nature to 
sustain the role of Tenniel's rustic 
looney. Kaiser William in the second 
portion of the sketch is hardly 
recognizable at a first glance, hut 
this is largely the effect of his 
battered and truncated head. Sub- 
stitute Verdun for Calais and Mr. 
Rit chiefs j'eu d' esprit, though it was 
published in 1914, holds as good 
to-day as it did when it was fir^t 
perpetrated. 

Finally, there is the neat little 
portrait of the Kaiser which the 
artist has succinctly Libelled " Xot 
AH There." This, too, was drawn 
and pub- 
lished in the 
early days 
of the war, 
but it would 
not be sur- 
prising to 
find t h u t 
Mr, Ritchie 
has antici- 
pated w r ith 
it the ver- 
d i c t of 
h is t o r v ♦ 
"Not all 
there" may 

well prove to be a 

prophetic summary 

of the Hoheiunlk-rn 

monarch, " Not 

there at all/ 1 which 

sums up the sanguine 

expectation of some 

folk, is the title we 

suggest for a com- 
panion portrait that 

we should much like 

to see the ingenious 

artist grapple with. 

* Originalfrom 
UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 




NOT ALL THERE, 
Hst jwm*fi fan *f " Tkt B*M*~dwr* * 







* . 



SafetuCurtain 

A COMPLETE NOVEL 

EthelMDell 

AUTHOR OF THE WAY OF AN EAGLE" E 



i 




UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




"FOR A SINGLE INiTAXT — THl£ LAST — THE TREMBLING, GLITTERING FIGURE SEEMED TO HESITATE. 
THEN LIKE A STREAK OF LIGHTNING LEAPT STRAIGHT OVER THE FOOTLIGHTS INTO THE OUT- 
STRETCHED ARMS/* 



by Google 



(S« page 228.) 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




The Safety-Curtain. 



■3s 



ETHEL M. DELL. 

Illustrated by Graham Simmons. 




CHAPTER I. 

THE ESCAPE, 

GREAT shout of applause went 
thro*ugh the crowded hall as the 
Dragon- Fly Dance came to an 
end, and the Dragon-Fly, with 
quivering, iridescent wings, 
flashed away. 

It was the third encore. The 
dance was a marvellous one, 
a piece of dazzling intricacy , of swift and 
unexpected subtleties, of almost superhuman 
grace. It must have proved utterly exhausting 
to any ordinary being; but to that creature of 
lire and magic it was no more than a glittering 
fantasy, a whirl too swift for the eye to follow 
or the brain to grasp. 

1'op) right, 19 id. 



41 Is It a boy or a girl ? " asked a man in the 
front row. 

iH It's a boy, of course." said his neighbour, 
shortly. 

He was the only member of the audience who 
did not take part in that third encore, He**at 
squarely in his seat throughout the uproar, 
watching the stage with piercing grey eyes that 
never varied in their stern directness. I lis 
brows were drawn above them — thick, straight 
brows that spoke to a formidable strength of 
purpose. He was plainly a man who was 
accustomed to hew his own way through life T 
despising the trodden paths, overcoming all 
obstacles by tfrim persistence, 

Lou d eiTi ia im t ,lq uder- s-w^J edi jth e t ju m 11 1 1 , It was 
evident 1 "Wat^hin^ Wl^'^Jfetition oi the 



228 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



wonder-dance would content the audience. They 
yelled themselves hoarse for it ; and when, 
light as air, incredibly swift, the green Dragon- 
Fly darted back, they outdid themselves in 
the madness of their welcome. The noise 
seemed to shake the building. 

Only the man in the front row with the 
iron-grey eyes and iron-hard mouth made no 
movement or sound of any sort. He merely 
watched with unchanging intentness the face 
that gleamed, ashen-white, above the shimmering 
metallic green tights that clothed the dancer's 
slim body. 

The noise ceased as the wild tarantella pro- 
ceeded. There fell a deep hush, broken only 
by the silver notes of a flute played somewhere 
behind the curtain. The dancer's movements 
were wholly without sound. The quivering, 
whirling feet scarcely seemed to touch the floor. 
It was a dance of inspiration, possessing a strange 
and irresistible fascination, a weird and meteoric 
rush, that held the onlookers with bated breath. 

It lasted for perhaps two minutes, that intense 
and trance-like stillness ; then, like a stone 
flung into glassy depths, a woman's scream 
rudely shattered it, a piercing, terror-stricken 
scream that brought the rapt audience back 
to earth with a shock as the liquid music of the 
flute suddenly ceased. 

" Fire ! " cried the voice. " Fire ! Fire ! " 

There was an instant of horrified inaction, and 
in that instant a tongue of flame shot like 
a fiery serpent through the . closed curtains 
behind the dancer. In a moment the cry was 
caught up Jtnd repeated in a dozen directions, 
and even as it went from mouth to mouth the 
safety-curtain began to descend. 

The dancer was torgotten, swept as it were 
from the minds of the audience as an insect 
whose life was of no account. From the back 
of the stage came a roar like the roar of an open 
furnace. A great wave of heat rushed into the 
hall, and people turned like terrified, stampeding 
animals and made for the exits. 

The Dragon- Fly still stood behind the foot- 
lights, poised as if for flight, glancing this way 
and that, shimmering from head to foot in the 
awful glare that spread behind the descending 
curtain. It was evident that retreat behind the 
scenes was impossible, and in another moment 
or two that falling curtain would cut off the only 
way left. 

But suddenly, before the dancer's hunted eyes, 
a man leapt forward. He held up his arms, 
making himself heard in clear command above 
the dreadful babel behind him. 

" Quick ! " he cried. " Jump ! " 

The wild eyes flashed down at him, wavered, 
and were caught in his compelling gaze. For 
a single instant — the last — the trembling, 
glittering figure seemed to hesitate, then like 
a streak of lightning leapt straight over the 
footlights into the outstretched arms. 

They caught and held with unwavering iron 
strength. In the midst of a turmoil indescribable 
the Dragon-Fly hung quivering on the man's 
breast, the gauze wings shattered in that close. 



sustaining grip. The safety-curtain came down 
with a thud, shutting off the horrors behind, 
and a loud voice yelled through the building 
assuring the seething crowd of safety. 

But panic had set in. The heat was terrific. 
People fought and struggled to reach the exits. 

The dancer turned in the man's arms and raised 
a deathly face, gripping his shoulders with 
clinging, convulsive fingers. Two wild dark eyes 
looked up to his, desperately afraid, seeking 
reassurance. 

He answered that look briefly with stern 
composure. 

" Be still ! I shall save you if I can." 

The dancer's heart was beating in mad terror 
against his own, but at his words it seemed to 
grow a little calmer. Quiveringly the white lips 
spoke. 

" There is a door — close to the stage — a little 
door — behind a green curtain — if we could reach 
it." 

" Ah ! " the man said. 

His eyes went to the stage, from the proximity 
of which the audience had fled affrighted. 
He spied the curtain. 

Only a few people intervened between him 
and it, and they were struggling to escape in 
the opposite direction. 

" Quick ! " gasped the dancer. 

He turned, snatched up his great-coat, and 
wrapped.it about the slight, boyish figure. The 
great dark eyes that shone out of the small 
white face thanked him for the action. The cling- 
ing hands slipped from his shoulders and clasped 
his arm. Together they faced the fearful heat 
that raged behind the safety-curtain. 

They reached the small door, gasping. It was 
almost hidden by green drapery. But the 
dancer was evidently familiar with it. In a 
moment it was open. A great burst of smoke 
met them. The man drew back. But a quick 
hand closed upon his, drawing him on. He went 
blindly, feeling as if he were stepping into the 
heart of a furnace, yet strangely determined 
to go forward, whatever came of it. 

The smoke and the heat were frightful, 
suffocating in their intensity. The roar of the 
unseen flames seemed to fill the world. 

The door swung to behind them. They stood in 
seething darkness. 

But again the small clinging hand pulled upon 
the man. 

" Quick ! " the dancer cried again. 

Choked and gasping, but resolute still, he 
followed. They ran through a passage that must 
have been on the very edge of the vortex of 
flame, for behind them ere they left it a red light 
glared. 

It showed another door in front of them with 
which the dancer struggled a moment, then flung 
open. They burst through it together, and the 
cold night wind met them like an angel of 
deliverance. 

The man gasped and gasped again, filling his 
parched lungs with it? healing freshness. His 
companion uttered a strange, high laugh, and 
dragged tim forth into th& open. 



TI I E SA FETY-CU RTA IN . 



229 



They emerged into 
a narrow alley, sur- 
rounded by tall 
houses. The night 
was dark and wet. 
The rain pattered 
upon them as they 
>tRRgered out into a 
Afiace that seemed 
deserted. The sudden 
'|uiet after the awful 
turmoil they had just 
Jeft was like the 
silence of death. 

The man stood still 
■md wiped the sweat 
:n a dazed fashion 
irnm his face. The 
little dancer reeled 
back against the wall, 
panting desperately. 

For a space neither 
moved. Then, ter- 
ribly, the silence was 
rent by a crash and 
the roar of flames. 
An awful redness 
leapt across the dark- 
ness of the night, 
revealing each to 
each. 

The dancer stood 
tip suddenly and made 
an odd little gesture 
of farewell; thru, 
swiftly, to the mans 
nrnazement, tamed 
back towards the door 
t h rou g h wh i ch they 
h:id burst but a few 
seconds before. 

He stared for 
a moment -only a 
moment — not believ- 
ing he saw aright ; 
then with a single 
>l/ide he reached and 
roughly seized the 
small, od d| y - d ra ped 
figure. 

He heard a faint 
cry, and there ensued 
;: sharp struggle 

a^.iinst his hold ; but he pinioned the thin young 
amis without ceremony, gripping them fast. In 
the awful, flickering glare above them his eyes 
shone downwards, dominant, relentless, 

J ' Are you mad ? "' he said. 

The small dark head was shaken vehemently, 
with gestures curiously suggestive of an im- 
pri son ed i n sect . 1 1 wa s a s i f wi Id w i n t>s tiutt ered 
against captivity. 

And then all in a moment the struggling 
ceased, and in a low. eager voice the captive 
be$*an to plead. 

1 ' Please, please let me go ! You don't know — - 
you don't understand, I came — because— 




,l tHK MAN DREW l*ACK. 



BUT A QUICK HAND CLOSED UPON Ml$, DHAWJNG 
IUM ON." 

because- you called JSut I was wrong— -I was 
wrong to come You couldn t keep me — -you 
wouldn't keep me — against my will I " 

*' Bo you want to die, then ? " the man 
demanded, " Are you tired of life ? " 

His eyes still shone piercingly down, but they 
read but little, for the dancer's were firmly closed 
against them, even while the dark cropped head 
nodded a strangely vigorous affirmative, 

" Yes, that is it 1 I am so tired- so tired of 
life I Don't keep me! Let me go — while I 
have the strenjpft^jn^fippgj [little, white, sharp* 



230 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



pathetic. " Death can't be more dreadful 
than life," the low voice urged. " If I don't go 
back — I shall be so sorry afterwards. Why- 
should one live — to suffer ? ' ' 

It was piteously spoken, so piteously that for 
a moment the man seemed moved to compassion. 
His hold relaxed ; but when the little form 
between his hands took swift advantage and 
strained afreslr for freedom he instantly 
tightened his grip. 

"No, no!" he said, harshly. *' There are 
other things in life. You don't know what you 
are doing. You are not responsible." 

The dark eyes opened upon him then — wide, 
reproachful, mysteriously far-seeing. " I shall 
not be responsible — if you make me live," 
said the Dragon-Fly, with the air of one risking 
a final desperate throw. 

It was almost an open challenge, and it was 
accepted instantly, with grim decision. " Very 
well. The responsibility is mine," the man 
said, briefly. " Come with me ! " 

His arm encircled the narrow shoulders. He 
■drew his young companion unresisting from the 
spot. They left the glare of the furnace behind 
them, and threaded their way through dark and 
winding alleys back to the throbbing life of the 
city thoroughfares, back into the whirl and stress 
of that human existence which both had nearly 
quitted — and one had strenuously striven to 
quit — so short a time before. 



CHAPTER II. 

nobody's business. 

"My name is Merryon," the man said, curtly. 

" I am a major in the Indian Army — home on 

leave. Now tell me about yourself I " 

He delivered the informatibn in the brief, 
aggressive fashion that seemed to be character- 
istic of him, and he looked over the head of his 
young visitor as he did so, almost as if he made 
the statement against his will. 

The * visitor, still clad in his great-coat, 
crouched like a dog on the hearthrug before the 
fire in Merryon's sitting-room, and gazed with 
wide, unblinking eyes into the flames. 

After a few moments Merryon's eyes descended 
to the dark head and surveyed it critically. The 
.collar of his coat was turned up all round it. It 
was glistening with rain-drops and looked like 
the head of some small, furry animal. 

As if aware of that straight regard, the 
dancer presently spoke, without turning or 
moving an eyelid. 

" What you are doesn't matter to anyone 
except yourself. And what I am doesn't 
matter either. It's just — nobody's business." 

" I see," said Merryon. 

A faint smile crossed his grim, hard-featured 
face. He sat down in a low chair near his 
guest and drew to his side a small table that 
bore a tray of refreshments. He poured out a 
glass of wine and held it towards the queer, 
elfin figure crouched upon his hearth. 

The dark eyes suddenly flashed from the fire 
to his face. " Why do you offer me — that ? " 
the dancer demanded, in a voice that was 



curiously vibrant, as though it strove to conceal 
some overwhelming emotion. "Why don't you 
give me — a man's drink ? " 

" Because I think this will suit you better,"' 
Merryon said ; and he spoke with a gentleness 
that was oddly at variance with the frown that 
drew his brows. 

The dark eyes stared up at him, scared and 
defiant, for the passage of several seconds ; then, 
very suddenly, the tension went out of the white, 
pinched face. It screwed up like the face of a 
hurt child, and all in a moment the little, 
huddled figure collapsed on the floor at his feet, 
while sobs — a woman's quivering, piteous sobs 
— filled the silence of the room. 

Merryon's own face was a curious mixture of 
pity and constraint as he set down the glass and 
stooped forward over the shaking, anguished 
form. 

" Look here, child ! " he said, and whatever 
else was in his voice it certainly held none of the 
hardness habitual to it. " You're upset — 
unnerved. Don't cry so ! Whatever you've 
been through, it's over. No one can make you 
go back. Do you understand ? You're free ! " 

He laid his hand, with the clumsiness 01 one 
little accustomed to console, upon the bowed 
black head. 

" Don't ! " he said again. " Don't cry so ! 
What the devil does it matter ? You're safe 
enough with me. I'm not the sort of bounder to 
give you away." 

She drew a little nearer to him. ** You — 
you're not a bounder — at all," she assured him 
between her sobs. " You're just — a gentleman. 
That's what you are ! " 

" All right," said Merryon. " Leave off 
crying ! " 

He spoke with the same species of awkward 
kindliness that characterized his actions, and 
there must have been something strangely 
comforting in his speech, for the little dancer's 
tears ceased as abruptly as they had begun. 
She dashed a trembling hand across her eyes. 

" Who's crying ? " she said. 

He uttered a brief, half-grudging laugh 
"That's better. Now drink some wine! Yes, 
I insist ! You must eat something, too. You 
look half-starved." 

She accepted the wine, sitting in an acrobatic 
attitude on the floor facing him. She drank it. 
and an odd sparkle of mischief shot up in her 
great eyes. She surveyed him with an impish 
expression — much as a grasshopper might survey 
a toad. 

" Are you married ? " she inquired, un- 
expectedly. 

"No," said Merryon, shortly. " Why ? " 

She gave a little laugh that had a catch in it. 
" I was only thinking that your wife wouldn't 
like me much. Women are so suspicious." 

Merryon turned aside, and began to pour out 
a drink for himself. There was something 
strangely elusive about this little creature whom 
Fortune bad flung to him. He wondered what 
he should do with her. Was she too old for a 
found hug hospital ? 



THE SAFKTY-Cl HTAIX. 



531 




" How old are you ? " he asked, abruptly. 

She did riot answer. 

He looked at her. frowning. 

44 Don't ! Jh she said, "It's ugly. I'm not 
quite forty, How old are you ? " 

" What ? " said Merryon. 

** Not quite forty," she said again, with 
extreme distinctness "I'm small for my age, 
1 know. But I shall never grow any more now. 
How old did you say vou were ? " 

Merryon 'a eyes regarded her piercingly, " I 
should like the truth," lie said, in his short, 
grim way. 

She made a grimace that turned into an 
impish smile, " Then you must stick to the 



lost in thought, Merryon leaned back in his 
chair, watching her. The little, pointed features 
possessed no beauty, yet they had that ^hich 
drew the attention irresistibly. The delicate 
charm of her dancing was somehow expressed 
in every line, There was fire, too — a strange, 
bewitching fire- behind the thick black lashes. 

Very suddenly that tire was turned upon him 
again, With a swift, darting movement she 
knelt up in iront of him, her clasped hands on 
his knees, 

" Why did you save me just now ? '* she 
said. " Why wouldn't you let me die ? " 

He looked full at her, She vibrated like a 
winged creature on the verge of taking flight. 
But her eyes— her eyes sought his with a strange 
assurance, as though they saw in him a comrade, 
4 Why did you make me live when I wanted 
to die ? " she insisted. " Ts life so desirable ? 
Have you found it so r '* 

His brows contracted at the last question, 
even while his mouth curved cynically. " Some 
people find it so/' he said. 



WHY DON T YOU GIVE 



things that matter. - ' she said. 'That* is — . 
nobody's business." 

He tried to look severe, but very curiously 
failed. He picked up a plate of sandwiches to 
mask a momentary confusion, and offered it to 
her. 

Again, with simplicity, sheaccepted, and there 
fell a silence between them while she ate, her 
eyes again upon the tire. Her face, in repose, 
was the saddest thing he had ever seen, More 
than ever did she make him think of a child 
that had been hurt. 

She finished her sandwich and sat for a while 



A MANS DRINK? 



" But you ? " she said, and there was almost 
accusation in her voice, " Have the gods been 
kind to you ? Or have they thrown you the 
dre«s— just the dregs ? " 

The passionate note in the words, subdued 
though it was, was not to be mistaken, It 
stirred him oddly, making him see her for the 
first time as a woman rather than as the fantastic 
being, half-elf, half -child, whom he had wrested 
from the very jaws of Death against her will. 
He leaned slov iv forward marking the deep, 

£^4Wfl^SfV^»^^ vivid red * 



232 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



. , " What do you know about the dregs ? " he 
said. 

She beat her hands with a small, fierce move- 
ment on his knees, mutely refusing to answer. 

" Ah, well," he said, " I don't know why I 
should answer either. But I will. Yes, I've 
had dregs — dregs — and nothing but dregs, for 
the last fifteen years." 

He spoke with a bitterness that he scarcely 
attempted to restrain, and the girl at his feet 
nodded — a wise little feminine nod. 
"I knew you had. It comes harder to a 
man, doesn't it ? " 

" I don't know why it should/' said Merryon, 
moodily. 

" I do," said the Dragon-Fly. " It's because 
men were made to boss creation. See ? You're 
one of the bosses, you are. You've been led to 
•expect a lot, and because you haven't had it 
you feel you've b^en cheated. Life is like that. 
It's just a thing that mocks at you. I know." 

She nodded again, and an odd, will-o'-the- 
wisp smile flitted over her face. 

" You seem to know — something of life," the 
man said. 

She uttered a queer, choking laugh. " Life 
is a big, big swindle," she said. " The only 
happy people in the world are those who haven't 
found it out. But you — you say there are 
other things in life besides suffering. How did 
you know that if — if you've never had anything 
but dregs ? " 

" Ah ! " Merryon said. *' You have me 
there." 

He was still looking full into those shadowy 
.eyes with a curious, dawning fellowship in 
his own. 

" You have me there," he repeated. " But 
I do know, I was happy enough once, 
till " He stopped. 

"Things went wrong?" insinuated the 
Dragon-Fly, sitting down on her heels in a 
.childish* attitude of attention. 

" Yes," Merryon admitted, in his sullen 
fashion. " Things went wrong. I found I 
was the son of a thief. He's dead now, thank 
Heaven. But he dragged me under first. I've 
been at odds with life ever since." 

" But a man can start again," said the 
Dragon-Fly, with her air of worldly wisdom. 

" Oh, yes, I did that." Merryon's smile 
was one of exceeding bitterness. " I enlisted 
and went to South Africa. I hoped for death, 
and I won a commission instead." 

The girl's eyes shone with interest. "But 
that was luck! " she said. 

" Oh, yes ; it was luck of a sort — the dam- 
nable, unsatisfactory sort. I entered the Indian 
Army, and I've got on. But socially I'm 
practically an outcast. They're polite to 
me, but they leave me outside. The man 
who rose from the ranks — the fellow with a 
shady past — fought shy of by the women, just 
tolerated by the men, covertly despised by 
the youngsters. That's the sort of person I 
am. It galled me once. I'm used to it now." 

Merryon's grim voice went into grimmer 



silence. He was staring sombrely into the 
fire, almost as if he had forgotten his companion. 

There fell a pause ; then, " You poor dear I " 
said the Dragon- Fly, sympathetically. " But 
I expect you are like that, you know. I 
expect it's a bit your own fault." 

He looked at her in surprise. 

" No, I'm not meaning anything nasty," she 
assured him, with that quick smile of hers 
whose sweetness he was just beginning to 
realize. " But after a bad knock-out like 
yours a man naturally looks for trouble. He 
gets suspicious, and a snub or two does the 
rest. He isn't taking any more. It's a pity 
you're not married. A woman would have 
known how to hold her own, and a bit over 
— for you." 

" I wouldn't ask any woman to share the 
life I lead," said Merryon, with bitter emphasis. 
" Not that any woman would if I did. I'm 
not a ladies' man." 

She laughed for the first time, and he started 
at the sound, for it was one of pure, girlish 
merriment. 

" My ! You are modest ' " she said. " And 
yet you don't look it, somehow." She turned 
her right-hand palm upwards on his knee, 
tacitly inviting his. " You're a good one to 
talk of life being worth while, aren't you ? " 
she said. 

He accepted the frank invitation, faintly 
smijing. " Well, I know the good things ars 
there," he said, "though I've missed them." 

" You'll marry and be happy yet," she said, 
with confidence. " But I shouldn't put it oft 
too long if I were you." 

He shook his head. His hand still half- 
consciously grasped hers. " Ask a woman to 
marry the son of one of the most famous 
swindlers ever known ? I think not," he said. 

" Why, even you " His eyes regarded her, 

comprehended her. He stopped abruptly. 

" What about me ? " she said. 

He hesitated, possessed by an odd embar- 
rassment. The dark eyes were lifted quite 
openly to his. It came to him that they were 
accustomed to the stare of multitudes — they 
met his look so serenely, so impenetrably. 

" I don't know how we got on to the subject 
of my affairs," he said, after a moment. " It 
seems to me that yours are the most important 
just now. Aren't you going to tell me anything 
about them ? " 

She gave a small, emphatic shake of the 
head. " I should have been dead by this time 
if you hadn't interfered," she said. " I haven't 
got any affairs." 

11 Then it's up to me to look after you," 
Merryon said, quietly. 

But she shook her head at that more vigor- 
ously still. "You look after me!" Hei 
voice trembled on a note of derision. " Sure, 
you're joking!" she protested. "I've looked 
after myself ever since I was eight." 

" And made a success of it ? " Merryon 

flfftEfiSff* ttieffifoM 1 ^ 06 - " That ' a 



THE SAFETY-CURTAIN: 



-33 



nobody's business but my own," she said. 
11 You know what I think of life." 

Merryon's hand closed slowly upon hers. 
"There seems to be a pair of us," he said. 
" You can't refuse to let me help you — for 
fellowships sake." 

The red lips trembled suddenly. The dark 
eyes fell before his for the first time She spoke 
almost under her breath. " I'm too old — to 
take help from a man — like that." 

He bent slightly towards her. ** What has 
age to do with it ? " 

44 Everything." Her eyes remained down- 
cast ; the hand he held was trying to wriggle 
free, but he would not suffer it. 

" Circumstances alter cases," he said. •' I 
accepted the responsibility when I saved you." 

"But you haven't the least idea what to do 
with me," said the Dragon-Fly, with a forlorn 
smile. ** You ought to have thought of that. 
You'll be going back to India soon. And I — 

and I " She stopped, still stubbornly 

refusing to meet the man's eyes. 

" I am going back next week," Merryon said. 

" How fine to be you ! " said the Dragon- 
Fly. "You wouldn't like to take me with you 
now as — as valet de chambre ? " 

He raised his brows momentarily. Then : 
" Would you come ? " he asked, with a certain 
roughness, as though he suspected her of 
trifling. 

She raised her eyes suddenly, kindled and 
eager. " Would I come ! " she said, in a tone 
that said more than words. 

41 You would? "he said, and laid an abrupt 
hand on her shoulder " You would, eh ? " 

She Jcnelt up swiftly,- the coat that enveloped 
her falling: ba*cjcr displaying the slim, boyish 
figure,: the active, supple limbs. Her breathing 
came through parted lips. 

" As your — your servant — your valet ? " she 
panted. 

His rough brows drew together. " My 
what ? Good heavens, no ! I could only 
take you in one capacity." 

She started back from his hand. For a 
moment sheer horror looked out from her eyes. 
Then, almost in the same instant, they were 
veiled. She caught her breath, saying no 
word, only dumbly waiting. 

" I could only take you as my wife," he said, 
still in that half-bantering, half-embarrassed 
fashion of his. " Will you come ? " 

She threw back her head and stared at him. 
41 Marry you ! What, really ? Really ? " she 
questioned, breathlessly. 

" Merely for appearances' sake," said Merryon, 
with grim irony. *' The regimental morals are 
somewhat easily offended, and an outsi4er like 
myself can't be too careful." 

The girl was still staring at him, as though 
at some novel specimen of humanity that had 
never before crossed her path. Suddenly she 
leaned towards him, looking him full and 
straight in the eyes. 

" What would you do if I said ' Yes ' ? " 
she questioned, in a small, tense whisper. 
Vol. lii -i& 



He looked back at her, half-interested, halt 
amused. " Do, urchin ? Why, marry you ' ' 
he said 

" Really marry me i *' she urged . mt Not 
make-believe ? " 

He stiffened at that. " Do you know what 
you're saying ? " he demanded, sternly. 

She sprang to her teet with a wild, startled 
movement ; then, as he remained seated, 
paused, looking down at him sideways, half- 
doubtful, half-confiding " But you can't be 
in earnest ! " she said. 

*' I am in earnest." He raised his tace to her 
with a certain doggedness, as though challenging 
her to detect in it aught but honesty. " I may 
be several kinds of a fool/' he said, " but I am 
in earnest. I'm no great catch, but I'll marry 
you if you'll have me. I'll protect you. and I'll 
be good to you. I can't promise to make you 
happy, of course, but — anyway, I sha'n't make 
you miserable.'.' 

" But — but — ■ — " She still stood before him 
as though hovering on the edge of flight. Her 
lips were trembling, her whole form quivering 
and scintillating in the lamplight. She halted 
on the words as if uncertain how to proceed 

" What is it ? " said Merryon. 

And then, quite suddenly, his mood softened. 
He leaned slowly forward. 

" You needn't be afraid of me," he said. "I'm 
not a heady youngster. I sha'n't gobble you 
up." 

She laughed at that — a quick, nervous laugh. 
" And you won't beat me either ? Promise ! *' 

He frowned at her. " Beat you ! I ? " 

She nodded several times, faintly smiling. 
" Yes, you, Mr. Monster ! I'm sure you could." 

He smiled also, somewhat grimly. " You re 
wrong, madam. I couldn't beat a child." 

44 Oh, my ! " she said, and threw up her arms 
with a quivering laugh, dropping his coat in a 
heap on the floor. " How old do you think this 
child is ? " she questioned, glancing down at 
him in her sidelong, speculative fashion. 

He looked at her hard and straight, looked at 
the slim young body in its sheath of iridescent 
green that shimmered with every breath she 
drew, and very suddenly he rose. 

She made a spring backwards, but she was 
too late. He caught and held her, 

" Let me go ! " she cried, her face crimson. 

" But why ? " Merryon's voice fell curt and 
direct. He held her firmly by the shoulders 

She struggled against him fiercely for a 
moment, then became suddenly still. " You're 
not a brute, are you ? " she questioned, breath- 
lessly. " You — you'll be good to me ? You 
said so ! " 

He surveyed her grimly. " Yes, I will be 
good to you," he said. " But I'm not going to 
be fooled. Understand ? If you marry me, 
you must play the part. I don't know how old 
you are. I don't greatly care. All I do care 
about is that you behave yourself as the wife ot 
a man in my position should You're old enough 
to know what :hat means, I*snppos*' ? " 

He spoke impressively, but the ef.ect of his 



234 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



words was not quite what he expected. The 
point of a very red tongue came suddenly 
from between the red lips, and instantly 
disappeared. 

44 That all ? " she said. 44 Oh, yes ; I think I 
can do that. I'll try, anyway. And if you're not 
satisfied — well, you'll have to let me know. See ? 
Now let me go, there's a good man ! I don't like 
the feel of your hands." 

He let her go in answer to the pleading of her 
eyes, and she slipped from his grasp like an eel, 
caught up the coat at her feet, and wriggled into 
it. 

Then, impishly, she faced him, buttoning it 
with nimble fingers the while. " This is the 
garment of respectability," she declared. " It 
isn't much of a fit, is it ? But I shall grow to 
it in time. Do you know, I believe I'm going 
to like being your wife ? " 

44 Why ? " said Merryon. 

She laughed — that laugh of irrepressible 
gaiety that had surprised him before. 

"Oh, just because I shall so love fighting 
your battles for you," she said. " It'll be 
grand sport." 

" Think so ? " said Merryon. 

"Oh, you bet! " said the Dragon-Fly, with 
gay confidence. " Men never know how to 
fight. They're poor things — men ! " 

He himself laughed at that — his grim, grudging 
laugh. " It's a world of fools, Puck," he said. 

"Or knaves," said the Dragon-Fly, wisely. 
And with that she stretched up her arms above 
her head and laughed again. " Now I know 
what it feels like," she said. " to have risen 
from the dead." 



CHAPTER III. 

COMRADES. 

There came the flash of green wings in the 
cypresses and a raucous scream of jubilation 
as the boldest parakeet in the compound 
flew off with the choicest sweetmeat on the 
tiffin-table in the veranda. There were always 
sweets at tiffin in the major's bungalow. Mrs. 
Merryon loved sweets. She was wont to say 
that they were the best remedy for home-sickness 
she knew. 

Not that she ever was home-sick. At least, 
no one ever suspected such a possibility, for 
she had a smile and a quip for all, and her 
laughter was the gayest in the station. She 
ran out now, half-dressed, from her bedroom, 
waving a towel at the marauder. 

44 That comes of being kind-hearted," she 
declared, in the deep voice that accorded so 
curiously with the frothy lightness of her per- 
sonality. " Everyone takes advantage of it, 
sure." 

Her eyes were grey and Irish, and they 
flashed over the scene dramatically, albeit 
there was no one to see and admire. For she was 
strangely captivating, and perhaps it was 
hardly to be expected that she should be quite 
unconscious of the fact. 

" Much too taking to be good, dear," had been 
the verdict of the Commissioner's wife when she 



had first seen little Puck Merryon, the major's 
bride. 

But then the Commissioner's wife, Mrs. 
Paget, was so severely plain in every way that 
perhaps she could scarcely be regarded as an 
impartial judge. She had never flirted with 
anyone, and could not know the joys thereof. 

Young Mrs. Merryon, on the other hand, 
flirted quite openly and very sweetly with 
every man she met. It was obviously her nature 
so to do. She had doubtless done it from her 
cradle, and would probably continue the practice 
to her grave. 

" A born wheedler," the colonel called her ; 
but his wife thought "saucy minx" a more 
appropriate term, and wondered how Major 
Merryon could put up with her shameless 
trifling. 

As a matter of fact, Merryon wondered him- 
self sometimes ; for she flirted with him more 
than all in that charming, provocative way of 
hers, coaxed him, laughed at him, brilliantly 
eluded him. She would perch daintily on the 
arm of his chair when he was busy, but if he 
so much as laid a hand upon her she was gone in 
a flash like a whirling insect, not to return till he 
was too absorbed to pay any attention to her. 
And often as those daring red lips mocked him, 
they were never offered to his even in jest. 
Yet was she so finished a coquette that the 
omission was never obvious. It seemed the 
most natural thing in the world that she should 
evade all approach to intimacy. They were 
comrades — just comrades. 

Everyone in the station wanted to know 
Merryon 's bride. People had begun by being 
distant, but that phase was long past. Puck 
Merryon had stormed the citadel within a fort- 
night of her arrival, no one quite knew how. 
Everyone knew her now. She went everywhere, 
though never without her husband, who found 
himself dragged into gaieties for which he had 
scant liking, and sought after by people who had 
never seemed aware of him before. She had, in 
short, become the rage, and so gaily did she revel 
in her triumph that he could not bring himself 
to deny her the fruits thereof. 

On that particular morning in March he had 
gone to an early parade without seeing her, for 
there had been a regimental ball the night 
before, and she had danced every dance. Dancing 
seemed her one passion, and to Merryon. who 
did not dance, the ball had been an unmitigated 
weariness. He had at last, in sheer boredom, 
joined a party of bridge-players, with the result 
that he had not seen much of his young wife 
throughout the evening. 

Returning from the parade-ground, he won- 
dered if he would find her up, and then caught 
sight of her waving away the marauders in 
scanty attire on the veranda. 

He called a greeting to her, and she instantly 
vanished into her room. He made his way to 
the table set in the shade of the cluster- roses, 
and sat down to await her. 

She remained invisible, but her voice at once 
adWoHied himUrMtbMIG.Hmlorning, Jiillikins ! 



THE SAFETY-CURTAIN. 



235 



Tell the khit you're ready ! I shall be out in 
two shakes." 

None but she would have dreamed of bestowing 
so frivolous an appellation upon the sober 
Merryon. But from her it came so naturally 
that Merryon scarcely noticed it. He had been 
" Billikins" to her throughout the brief three 
months that had elapsed since their marriage. 
Of course, Mrs. Paget disapproved, but then 
Mrs. Paget was Mrs. Paget. She disapproved 
of everything young and gay. 

Merryon gave the required order, and then 
sat in solid patience to await his wife's coming. 
She did not keep him long. Very soon she 
came lightly out and joined him, an impudent 
smile on her sallow little face, dancing merriment 
in her eyes. 

" Oh, poor old Billikins ! " she said, com- 
miseratingly. " You were bored last night, 
weren't you ? I wonder if I could teach you to 
dance." 

" 1 wonder," said Merryon. 

His eyes dwelt upon her in her fresh white 
muslin. What a child she looked ! Not pretty 
— no, not pretty ; but what a magic smile she 
had! 

She sat down at the table facing him, and 
leaned her elbows upon it. "I wonder if I 
could ! " she said again, and then broke into her 
sudden laugh. 

** What's the joke ? " asked Merryon. 

" Oh, nothing ! " she said, recovering herself. 
" It suddenly came over me, that's all — poor old 
Mother Paget's face, supposing she had seen me 
last night." 

" Didn't she see you last night ? I thought 
you were more or lees in the public eye," said 
Merryon. 

" Oh, I meant after the dance," she explained. 
" I felt sort of wound up and excited after I 
got back. And I wanted to see if I could still 
do it. I'm glad to say I can," she ended, with 
another little laugh. 

" Can what ? " asked Merryon, 

Her dark eyes shot him a tentative glance. 
" You'll be shocked if I tell you." 

" What was it ? " he said. 

There was insistence in his tone — the insis- 
tence by which he had once compelled her to 
live against her will. Her eyelids fluttered a 
little as it reached her, but she cocked her small, 
pointed chin notwithstanding. 

" Why should I tell you if I don't want to ? " 
she demanded. 

" Why shouldn't you want to ? " he said. 

The tip of her tongue shot out and in again. 
" Well, you never took me for a lady, did you ? " 
she said, half -defiantly. 

" What was it ? " repeated Merryon, sticking 
to the point. 

Again she grimaced at him, but she answered, 
" Oh, I only — after I'd had my bath — lay on the 
floor and ran round my head for a bit. It's 
not a bit difficult, once you've got the knack. 
But I got thinking of Mrs. Paget — she does amuse 
me, that woman. Only yesterday she asked 
mc what Puck was short for, and I told her 



Elizabeth — and then I got laughing so that I had 
to stop. ' 

Her face was flushed, and she was slightly 
breathless as she ended, but she stared across 
the table with brazen determination, like a 
naughty child expecting a slap. 

Merryon 's face, however, betrayed neither 
astonishment nor disapproval. He even smiled 
a little as he said, " Perhaps you would like 
to give me lessons in that also ? I've often 
wondered how it was done." 

She smiled back at him with instant and 
obvious relief. 

" No, I sha'n't do it again. It's not proper. 
But I will teach you to dance. I'd sooner dance 
with you than any of 'em." 

Jt was naively spoken, so naively that 
Merryon's faint smile turned into something 
that was almost genial. What a youngster 
she was ! Her freshness was a perpetual source 
of wonder to him — when he remembered 
whence she had come to him. 

" I am quite willing to be taught," he said. 
" But it must be in strict privacy." 

She nodded gaily. 

" Of course. You shall have a lesson to-night 
— when we get back from the Burtons' dinner. 
I'm real sorry you were bored, Billikins. You 
sha'n't be again." 

That was her attitude always, half-maternal, 
half-quizzing, as if something about him amused 
her ; yet always anxious to please him, always 
ready to set his wishes before her own, so long 
as he did not attempt to treat her seriously. 
She had left all that was serious in that other 
life that had ended with the fall of the safety- 
curtain on a certain night in England many 
aeons ago. Her personality now was light as 
gossamer, irresponsible as thistle-down. The 
deeper things of life passed her by. She seemed 
wholly unaware of them. 

" You'll be quite an accomplished dancer by 
the time everyone comes back from the Hills," 
she remarked, balancing a fork on one slender 
brown finger. " We'll have a ball for two — 
every night." 

" We ! " said Merryon. 

She glanced at him. 

" I said ' we.' " 

" I know you did." The man's voice had 
suddenly a dogged ring ; he looked across at the 
vivid, piquant face with the suggestion of a frown 
between his eyes. 

" Don't do that ! " she said, lightly. " Never 
do that, Billikins ! It's most unbecoming 
behaviour. What's the matter?" 

"The matter ? " he said, slowly. ' ' The matter 
is that you are going to the Hills for the hot 
weather with the rest of the women, Puck. 
I can't keep you here." 

She made a rude face at him. 

" Preserve me from any cattery in the Hills! " 
she said. "I'm going to stay with you." 

" You can't," said Merryon. 

" I can," she said. 



236 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



She snapped her fingers at him and laughed. 
" I am in earnest.'/ Merryon said. " I can't 
keep you here for the hot weather. It would 
probably kill you.' ' 

" What of that ? " she said. * 

He ignored her frivolity. 

" It can't be done," he said. " So you must 
make the best of it." 

" Meaning you don't want me ? " she de- 
manded, unexpectedly. 

" Not for the hot weather," said Merryon. 

She sprang suddenly to her feet. 

" I won't go, Billikins ! " she declared, fiercely. 
" I just won't ! " 

He looked at her, sternly resolute. 

" You must go," he said, with unwavering 
decision. 

" You're tired of me ! Is that it ? " "she 
demanded. 

He raised his brows. " You haven't given 
me much opportunity to be that, have you ? " 
he said. 

A great wave of colour went over her face. 
She put up her hand as though instinctively 
to shield it. 

" I've done my best to — to — to " She 

stopped, became piteously silent, and suddenly 
he saw that she was crying behind the sheltering 
hand. 

He softened almost in spite of himself. 

" Come here, Puck ! " he said. 

She shook her head dumbly. 

" Come here ! " he repeated. 

She came towards him slowly, as if against 
her will. He reached forward, still seated, and 
drew her to him. 

She trembled at his touch, trembled and 
started away, yet in the end she yielded. 

"Please," she whispered; "please!" 

He put his arm round her very gently, yet 
with determination, making her stand beside 
him. 

" Why don't you want to go to the Hills ? " 
he said.. 

" I'd be frightened," she murmured. 

" Frightened ? Why ? " 

" I don't know," she said, vaguely. 

" Yes, but you do know. You must know. 
Tell me." He spoke gently, but the stubborn 
note was in his voice and his hold was insistent. 
".Leave off crying and tell me! " 

"I'm not crying," said Puck. 

She uncovered her face and looked down at 
him through tears with a faintly mischievous 
smile. 

"Tell me!" he reiterated. " Is it because 
you don't like the idea of leaving me ? " 

Her smile flashed full out upon him on the 
instant. 

" Goodness, no ! Whatever made you think 
that ? " she demanded, briskly. 

He was momentarily disconcerted, but he 
recovered himself at once. 

" Then what is your objection to going ? " 
he asked. 

She turned and sat down conversationally on 
the corner of the table. 



)gie 



" W T ell, you know, Billikins, it's like this. 
When I married you — I did it out of pity. 
See ? I -Was sorry for you. You seemed such 
a poor, helpless sort of creature. And I thought 
being married to me might help to improve your 
position a bit. You see my point, Billikins ? " 

" Oh, quite," he said. " Please go on 1 " 

She went on, with butterfly gaiety. 

" I worked hard — really hard — to get you 
out of your bog. It was a horrid deep one, 
wasn't it, Billikins ? My ! You were floundering ! 
But I've pulled you out of it and dragged you 
up the bank a bit. You don't get snifted at any- 
thing like you used, do you, Billikins ? But 
I daren't leave you yet. I honestly daren't. 
You'd slip right back again directly my back 
was turned. And I should have the pleasure 
of starting the business all over again. I couldn't 
face it, my dear. It would be too disheartening." 

" I see," said Merryon. There was just the 
suspicion of a smile among the rugged lines of 
his face. " Yes, I see your point. But I caxi 
show you another if you'll listen." 

He was holding her two hands as she sat, as 
though he feared an attempt to escape. For 
though Puck sat quite still, it was with the 
stillness of a trapped creature that waits upon 
opportunity. 

" Will you listen ? " he said. . x 

She nodded. 

It was not an encouraging nod, but he pro- 
ceeded. 

" All the women go to the Hills for the hot 
weather. It's unspeakable here. No white woman 
could stand it. And we men get leave by turns 
to join them. There is nothing doing down here, 
no social round whatever. It's just stark duty. 
I can't lose much social status that way. It 
will serve my turn much better if you go up 
with the other women and continue to hold your 
own there. Not that I care a rap," he added, 
with masculine tactlessness. " I am no longer 
susceptible to snubs." 

" Then I sha'n't go," she said at once, 
beginning to swing a restless foot. 

" Yes, but you will go," he said. " I wish it." 

" You want to get rid of me," said F*uck, 
looking over his head with the eyes of a troubled 
child. 

Merryon was silent. He was watching her 
with a kind of speculative curiosity. His hands 
were still locked upon hers. 

Slowly her eyes came down to his. 

" Billikins," she said, "Jet me stay dow;n for 
a little ! " Her lips were quivering. She kicked 
his chair agitatedly. *' I don't want to go," 
she said, dismally. " Let me stay — anyhow — 
till I get ill!" 

" No," Merryon said. " It can't be done, 
child. I can't risk that. Besides, there'd be 
no one to look after you." 

She slipped to her feet in a flare of indignation. 
" You're a pig, Billikins ! You're a pig ! " she 
cried, and tore her hands free. " I've a good 
mind to run away from you and never come 
back. It's what you deserve, and what you'll 
get, if you aren't careful \ " 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE SAFETY-CURTAIN. 



237 




"SHfc WAS i.J.s.:. A MOCKING SPIRIT, A WILL-O'-THE-'A'tiF, LHIiEVG HIM, T.UfiiSti HIM 

U'lftrHKR? " 



238 



THE STRASD MAGAZ1XE. 



She was gone with the words — gone like a 
flashing insect disturbing the silence for a 
moment, and leaving a deeper silence behind. 

Merryon looked after her for a second or two, 
and then philosophically continued his meal. 
But the slight frown remained between his 
brows. The veranda seemed empty and colour- 
less now that she was gone. 



CHAPTER IV. 

FRIENDS. 

The Burtons' dinner-party was a very cheerful 
atfair. The Burtons were young and newly- 
married, and they liked to gather round them 
all the youth and gaiety of the station. It was 
for that reason that Puck's presence had been 
secured, for she was the life of every gathering ; 
and her husband had been included in the 
invitation simply and solely because from the 
very outset she had refused to go anywhere 
without him. It was the only item of her 
behaviour of which worthy Mrs. Paget could 
conscientiously approve. 

As a matter of fact, Merryon had not the 
smallest desire to go, but he would not say so; 
and all through the evening he sat and watched 
his young wife with a curious hunger at his 
heart. He hated to think that he had hurt her. 

There was no sign of depression about Puck, 
however, and he alone noticed that she never 
once glanced in his direction. She kept everyone 
up to a pitch of frivolity that certainly none 
would have attained without her, and an odd 
feeling began to stir in Merryon, a sensation ot 
jealousy such as he had never before experi- 
enced. They seemed to forget, all ot them, 
that this flashing, brilliant creature was his. 

She seemed to have forgotten it also. Or was 
it only that deep-seated, inimitable coquetry ot 
hers that prompted her thus to ignore him ? 

He could not decide ; but throughout the 
evening the determination grew in him to make 
this one point clear to her. Trifle as she might, 
she must be made to understand that she 
belonged to him, and him alone. Comrades they 
might be, but he held a vested right in her, 
whether he chose to assert it or not. 

They returned at length to their little gim- 
crack bungalow — the Match-box, as Puck called 
it — on foot under a blaze of stars. The distance 
was not great, and Puck despised rickshaws. 

She flitted by his side in her airy way, chatting 
inconsequently, not troubling about response, as 
elusive as a fairy and — the man felt it in the 
rising fever of his veins — as maddeningly attrac- 
tive. 

They reached the bungalow. She went up 
the steps to the rose-twined veranda as though 
she floated on wings of gossamer. " The roses 
are all asleep, Billikins," she said. " They look 
like alabaster, don't they ? " 

She caught a cluster to her and held it against 
her cheek for a moment. 

Merryon was close behind her. She seemed to 
realize his nearness quite suddenly, for she let 
the flowers go abruptly and flitted on. 

He followed her till, at the farther end of the 



veranda, she turned and faced him. " Good 
night, Billikins," she said, lightly. 

" What about that dancing-lesson >" he said. 

She threw up her arms above her head with a 
curjous gesture. They gleamed transparently 
white in the starlight. Her eyes shone like fire- 
flies. 

" I thought you preferred dancing by your- 
self," she retorted. 

" Why ? " he said. 

She laughed a soft, provocative laugh, and 
suddenly, without any warning, the cloak had 
fallen from her shoulders and she was dancing. 
Therein the starlight, white-robed and wonderful, 
she danced as, it seemed to the man's fascinated 
senses, no human had ever danced before. She 
was like a white flame — a darting, fiery essence, 
soundless, all-absorbing, all-entrancing. 

He watched her with pent breath, bound by 
the magic of her, caught, as it were, into the 
innermost circle of her being, burning in answer 
to her fire, yet so curiously enthralled as to 
be scarcely aware of the ever-mounting, ever- 
spreading heat. She was like a mocking spirit, 
a will-o'-the-wisp, luring him, luring him — 
whither ? 

The dance quickened, became a passionate 
whirl, so that suddenly he seemed to see a bright- 
winged insect caught in an endless web and 
battling for freedom. He almost saw the silvery 
strands of that web floating like gossamer in the 
starlight. 

And then, with well-nigh miraculous sudden- 
ness, the struggle was over and the insect had 
darted free. He saw her flash away, and found 
the veranda empty. 

Her cloak lay at his feet. He stooped with 
an odd sense of giddiness and picked it up. A 
fragrance of roses came to him with the touch 
of it, and for an instant he caught it up to his 
face. The sweetness seemed to intoxicate him. 

There came a light, inconsequent laugh ; 
sharply he turned. She had opened the window 
of his smoking-den and was standing in the 
entrance with impudent merriment in her eyes. 
There was triumph also in her pose — a triumph 
that sent a swirl of hot passion through him. 
He flung aside the cloak and strode towards her. 

But she was gone on the instant, gone with a 
tinkle of maddening laughter. He blundered 
into the darkness of an empty room. But he 
was not the man to suffer defeat tamely. Momen- 
tarily baffled, he paused to light a lamp ; then 
went from room to room of the little bungalow, 
locking each door that she might not elude him a 
second time. His blood was on fire, and he 
meant to find her. 

In the end he came upon her wholly un- 
expectedly, standing on the veranda amongst the 
twining roses. She seemed to be awaiting him, 
though she made no movement towards him as 
he approached. 

" Good night, Billikins," she said, her voice 
very small and humble. 

He came to her without haste, realizing that 
she had given the game into his hands. She did 
not shrink from him, hut *hc raise d an appealing 



THE SAKKTY-tT'RTAIN. 



*39 



face. And oddly the man's heart smote him. 
She looked so pathetically small and child ish, 
standing there. 

But the blood was still running fiercely in his 
veins, and that momentary twinge did not cool 
him* Child she might be. but she had played 
with fire, and she alone was responsible for the 
conflagration that she had started. 

He drew near to her ; he took her, unresisting, 
into his arms. 



1f I sec" Merryon's votce was deep and lo-nr, 
" And you meantime are at liberty to play any 
fool game you like with nne. Is that it ? " 

She was quivering from head to foot. She did 
not lift her face, " It wasn't — a foot game/' she 
protested. " L did it because because — you 
were so horrid this morning, so — so cold-blooded 
And I — and I — wanted to see if — I could make 



you care. 
" Make 



me care ! " Merryon said the words 




" I — I WANTED TO SEE IF I COL LD MAKE YOLF CAKE," 



She cowered down, hiding her face away from 
him. " Don't, Biliikins ! Please—please, Billi- 
kins ! " she begged, incoherently. ,f You 
p re mi sed — you prom i sed ' ' 

1 What did I promise ? " lie said. 

" That you wouldn't — wouldn't " — she spoke 
breathlessly, for his hold was tightening upon 
her — " gobble me up/' she ended, with a painful 
little laugh. 



over oddly to himself ; and then, still fast 
holding hcr p he began to feel for the face that 
was so strenuously hidden from him. 

She resisted him desperately. " Let me go I" 
she begged, piteously* *' I'll be so good, 
Biliikins. I'll go .to the Hills. I'll do any- 
thing you Ulfilililiai^'Ollht me go now I 

Biiwui^ERSIIY OE MUZHIGAN , 

She cried out sharply, for he had overcome 



240 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



her resistance by quiet force, had turned her 
white face up to l)is own. 

" I am not cold-blooded to-night, Puck," 
he said. " Whatever you are — child or woman 
— gutter-snipe or angel — you are mine, all 
mine. And — I want you ! " 

The deep note vibrated in his voice ; he 
stooped over her. 

But she flung herself back over his arm, 
striving desperately to avoid him. " No — no 
— no!" she cried, wildly. "You mustn't, 
Bilhkins ! Don't kiss me ! Don't kiss me ! " 
She threw up a desperate hand, covering his 
mouth. "Don't — oh, don't!" she entreated, 
brokenly. 

But the fire she had kindled she was powerless 
to quench. He would not be frustrated. He 
caught her hand away. He held her to his 
heart. He kissed the red lips hotly, with the 
savage freedom of a nature long restrained. 

" Who has a greater right ? " he said, with 
fiery exultation. 

She did not answer him. But at the first 
touch of his lips upon her own she resisted no 
longer, only broke into agonized tears. 

And suddenly Merryon came to himself — 
was furiously, overwhelmingly ashamed. 

" God forgive me 1 " he said, and let her go. 
She tottered a little, covering her face with 
her hands, sobbing like a hurt child. But she 
did not try to run away. 

He flung round upon his heel and paced the 
veranda in fierce discomfort. Beast that he 
was — brute beast to have hurt her so ! That 
piteous sobbing was more than he could bear. 
Suddenly he turned back to her, came and 
stood beside her. " Puck — Puck, child ! " he 
said. 

His voice was soft and very urgent. He 
touched the bent, dark head with a hesitating 
caress. 

She started away from him with a gasp of 
dismay ; but he checked her. 

" No, don't ! " he said. " Its all right, 
dear. I'm not such a brute as I seem. Don't 
be afraid of me!" 

There was more of pleading in his voice than 
he knew. She raised her head suddenly, and 
looked at him as if puzzled. 

He pulled out his handkerchief and dabbed 
her wet cheeks with clumsy tenderness. " It's 
all right," he said again. " Don't cry ! I 
hate to see you cry." 

She gazed at him, still doubtful, still sobbing 
a little. "Oh, Billikins 1 " she said, tremu- 
lously, " why did you ? " 

" I don't know," he said. " I was mad. 
It was your own fault, in a way. You don't 
seem to realize that I'm as human as the rest 
of the world. But I don't defend myself. I 
was an infernal brute to let myself go like 
that." 

"Oh, no, you weren't, Billikins!" Quite 
unexpectedly she answered him. " You 
couldn't help it. Men are like that. And I'm 
glad you're human. But — but " — she faltered 
a little — " I want to feel that you're safe, too. 



I've always felt — ever since 1 jumped into 
your arms that night — that you — that you 
were on the right side of the safety-curtain. 
You are. aren't you ? Oh, please say you are ! 
But I know you are." She held out her hands 
to him with a quivering gesture of confidence. 
" If you'll forgive me for — for fooling you," she 
said, "I'll forgive you — for being fooled. 
That's a fair offer, isn't it ? Don't lets think 
any more about it ! " Her rainbow smile 
transformed her face, but her eyes sought his 
anxiously. 

He took the hands, but he did not attempt 
to draw her nearer. " Puck ! " he said. 

" What is it ? " she whispered, trembling. 

" Don't ! " he said. " I won't hurt you. 
I wouldn't hurt a hair of your head. But, 
child, wouldn't it be safer — easier for both of 
us — if — if we lived together, instead of apart ? " 

He spoke almost under his breath. There 
was no hint of mastery about him at that 
moment, only a gentleness that pleaded with 
her as with a frightened child. 

And Puck went nearer to him on the instant, 
as it were instinctively, almost involuntarily. 
" P'r'aps some day, Billikins! " she said, with 
a little, quivering laugh. " But not yet — not 
if I've got to go to the Hills away from you." 

" When I follow you to the Hills, then," he 
said. 

She freed one hand and, reaching up, lightly- 
stroked his cheek. "P'r'aps, Billikins!" she 
said again. " But — you'll have to be awfully 
patient with me, because — because — — *' She 
paused, agitatedly ; then went yet a little 
nearer to him. " You will be kind to me, 
won't you ? " she pleaded. 

He put his arm about her. " Always, dear," 
he said. 

She raised her face. She was still trembling, 
but her action was one of resolute confidence. 
" Then let's be friends, Billikins ! " she said. 

It was a tacit invitation. He bent and 
gravely kissed her. 

Her lips returned his kiss shyly, quiverjngly, 
" You're the nicest man I ever met, Billikins," 
she said. " Good night ! " 

She slipped from his encircling arm and was 
gone. 

The man stood motionless where she had 
left him, wondering at himself, at her, at the 
whole rocking universe. She had kindled the 
Magic Fire in him indeed ! His whole being 
was aglow. And yet — and yet — she had had 
her way with him. He had let her go. 

Wherefore ? Wherefore ? The hot blood 
dinned in his ears. His hands clenched. And 
from very deep within him the answer carae. 
Because he loved her. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE WOMAN. 

Summer in the Plains ! Pitiless, burning summer ! 
All day a blinding blaze of sun beat upon the 
wooden roof, forced a way through the shaded 
windows, lay like a blasting spell upon the 
pa r :ha^Fp£nrppound. 1 r uB|ha Kjcluster-roses had 



THE SAFETY-CURTAIN. 



241 



shrivelled and died long since. Their brown 
leaves still clung to the veranda and rattled 
desolately with a dry, scaly sound in the 
burning wind of dawn. 

The green parakeets had ceased to look for 
sweets on the veranda. Nothing dainty ever 
made its appearance there. The Englishman 
who came and went with such grim endurance 
offered them no temptations. 

Sometimes he spent the night on a charpoy 
on the veranda, lying motionless, though often 
sleepless, through the breathless, dragging 
hours. There had been sickness among the 
officers, and Merryon, who was never sick, was 
doing the work of three men. He did it 
doggedly, with the stubborn determination 
characteristic of him; not cheerfully — no one 
ever accused Merryon of being cheerful — but 
efficiently and uncomplainingly. Other men 
cursed the heat, but he never took the trouble. 
He needed all his energies for what he had 
to do. 

His own chance of leave had become very 
remote. There was so much sick leave that 
he could not be spared. Over that, also, he 
made no complaint. It was useless to grumble 
at the inevitable. There was not a man in 
the mess who could not be spared more easily 
than he. 

For he was indomitable, unfailing, always 
fulfilling his duties with machine-like regularity, 
stern, impenetrable, hard as granite. 

As to what lay behind that hardness, no one 
ever troubled to inquire. They took him for 
granted, much as if he had been a well-oiled 
engine guaranteed to surmount all obstacles. 
How he did it was nobody's business but his 
own. If he suffered in that appalling heat as 
3ther men suffered, no one knew of it. If he 
grew a little grimmer and a little gaunter, no 
one noticed. Everyone knew that whatever 
happened to others, he at least would hold on. 
Everyone described him as " hard as nails." 

Each day seemed more intolerable than the 
last, each night a perceptible narrowing of the 
fiery circle in which they lived. They seemed 
to be drawing towards a culminating horror 
that grew hourly more palpable, more mon- 
strously menacing — a horror that drained their 
strength even from afar. 

" It's going to kill us this time," declared 
little Robey, the youngest subaltern, to whom 
the nights were a torment unspeakable. He 
had been within an ace of heat apoplexy more 
than once, and his nerves were stretched almost 
to breaking-point. 

But Merryon went doggedly on, hewing his 
unswerving way through all. The monsoon 
was drawing near, and the whole tortured 
earth seemed to be waiting in dumb expectation. 

Night after night a glassy moon came up, 
shining, immense and awful, through a thick 
haze of heat. Night after night Merryon lay 
on his veranda, smoking his pipe in stark 
endurance while the dreadful hours crept by. 
Sometimes he held a letter from his wife hard 
clenched in one powerful hand. She wrote to 



him frequently — short, airy epistles, wholly 
inconsequent, often provocatively meagre. 

"There is a Captain Silvester here," she 
wrote once; "such a bounder. But he is 
literally the only man who can dance in the 
station. So what would you ? Poor Mrs. 
Paget is so shocked ! " 

Feathery hints of this description were by 
no means unusual, but though Merryon some- 
times frowned over them, they did not make 
him uneasy. His will-o'-the-wisp might beckon, 
but she would never allow herself to be caught. 
She never spoke of love in her letters, always 
ending demurely, " Yours sincerely, Puck." 
But now and then there was a small cross 
scratched impulsively underneath the name, 
and the letters that bore this token accom- 
panied Merryon through his inferno whither- 
soever he went. 

There came at last a night of terrible heat, 
when it seemed as if the world itself must burst 
into flames. A heavy storm rolled up, roared 
overhead for a space like a caged monster, and 
sullenly rolled away, without a single drop of 
rain to ease the awful tension of waiting that 
possessed all things. 

Merryon left the mess early, tramping back 
over the dusty road, convinced that the down- 
pour for which they all yearned was at hand. 
There was no moonlight that night, only a hot 
blackness, illumined now and then by a brilliant 
dart of lightning that shocked the senses and 
left behind a void indescribable, a darkness 
that could be felt. There was something 
savage in the atmosphere, something primitive 
and passionate that seemed to force itself upon 
him even against his will. His pulses were 
strung to a tropical intensity that made him 
aware of the man's blood in him, racing at 
fever heat through veins that felt swollen to 
bursting. 

He entered his bungalow and flung off his 
clothes, took a plunge in a bath of tepid water, 
from which he emerged with a pricking sensa- 
tion all over him that made the lightest touch 
a torture, and finally, keyed up to a pitch of 
sensitiveness that excited his own contempt, 
he pulled on some pyjamas and went out to 
his charpoy on the veranda. 

He dismissed the punkah coolie, feeling his 
presence to be intolerable, and threw himself 
down with his coat flung open. The oppression 
of the atmosphere was as though a red-hot lid 
were being forced down upon the tortured 
earth. The blackness beyond the veranda was 
like a solid wall. Sleep was out of the question. 
He could not smoke. It was an effort even to 
breathe. He could only lie in torment and 
wait — and wait. 

The flashes of lightning had become less 
frequent. A kind of waking dream began to 
move in his brain. A figure gradually grew 
upon that screen of darkness — an elf-like thing, 
intangible, transparent, a quivering, shadowy 
image, remote as the dawn. 

Wide-eyed, he matched the vision, his pulses 
beating witn a mad longing su fierce as to be 






Z+2 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



utterly beyond his own control. It was as 
though he had drunk strong wine and had 
somehow slipped " the leash- of ordinary con- 
vention. •_ The savagery of the night, the 
tropical intensity of it, had got into him. 
Half-naked, wholly primitive, he lay and waited 
—and waited. 

• For - awhile the vision hung before him, 
tantalizing Jiim; maddening him, eluding him. 
Then j, came a flash of' lightning,- and it was 
gone. ;-■--"-• 

He^started up on the charpoy, every nerve 
tense ; as stretched wire. • 

It Come back I" he cried, hoarsely. "Come 
bapk ! " t T r - . -- - - 

-Again - the lightning streaked the darkness. 
There- came *a burst of thunder, and suddenly, 
through "it :: and above it, • he heard the far- 
distant roar of rain. He sprang to his feet. 
It : was coming. 

The seconds throbbed away. Something was 
moving in the compound, a subtle, awful 
Soihething. The trees and bushes quivered 
before it, the cluster-roses rattled their dead 
leaves wildly. But the man stood motionless 
in~"tlie light that fell across the veranda from 
the* open .window of his room, watching with 
eyes;* that^ shone with a fierce and glaring 
intensity for the return of his vision. 

.The- fevered blood was hammering at his 
temples. For the moment he was scarcely 
sane, ? . The fearful strain of the past few- weeks 
that :, had overwhelmed less hardy men had 
wrought upon him in a fashion more subtle 
but none the less compelling. They had been 
striken down,* whereas he had been strung to 
a pitch where bodily suffering had almost ceased 
to count. He* had grown used to the torment, 
and now in this supreme moment it tore from 
him his civilization, : but his physical strength 
remained untouched. He stood alert and 
ready, like a beast in a cage, waiting for what- 
ever the gf>ds might deign to throw him. , 

. Jhe tunjult .beyond that wall of blackness 
grciw,. * It became «a swirling uproar. The rose- 
vines were., whipped from the veranda and 
flung writhing" in all directions. The trees in 
the compound strove like terrified creatures in 
the grip of a giant. The heat of the blast was 
like tongues of flame blown from an immense 
furnace. .^Merryon's- whole body seemed to be 
wrapped in fire. With a fierce movement he 
stripped the coat from him and flung it into the 
room behind him. He was alone, save for the 
devils that raged in that pandemonium. What 
did it matter how he met them ? 

And then, with the suddenness of a stupendous 
weight dropped from heaven, -came rain, rain 
in torrents and billows, rain solid as the volume 
of Niagara, a -crashing, mighty force. 

The tempest shrieked through the compound. 
The lightning glimmered, leapt, became con- 
tinuous. The night was an inferno of thunder 
and violence. - ; - - .- • 

And suddenly out „of ,the inferno, out of the 
awful strife of elements, out of that frightful 
rainfall, there came— a woman I 



CHAPTER VI. 

LOVERS. 

She catne. haltingly, clinging with both hands 
to the rail of the veranda, her white face staring 
Upwards in terror and instinctive appeal. She 
was like an insect, dragging itself away from 
destruction, with drenched and. battered wings. 

He saw her coming and stiffened. It was his 
vision returned to hirti, but till she came within 
reach of him he was afraid to move. He stood 
upright against the wall, every mad instinct 
of his blood fiercely awake and clsmourirg. 

The noise and wind increased. It swirled along 
the veranda. She seemed afraid to quit her hold 
of the balustrade lest she should be swept away. 
But still she drew nearer to the lighted window, 
and at last, with desperate resolution, she tore 
herself free and sprang for shelter". „.. .. 

In that instant the man also sprang. He caught 
her in arms that almost expected , to . clasp 
emptiness, arms that crushed ifi & savage ecstasy 
of possession at the actual contact with a creature 
of flesh and blood. In the same moment the 
lamp in the room behind him flared, up and 
went out. 

There arose a frightened crying from his 
breast. For a few moments she fought like 
a mad thing for freedom. He. felt. her. teeth set 
in his arm, and laughed aloud. Then; very 
suddenly her struggles* ceased. He became aware 
of a change in her. She gave her. whole weight 
into his arms, and lay palpitating, agaigsi his 
heart. ' \ •; ' ■-';" *> *■■'. 

By the awful glare of the lightning he found 
her face uplifted to his. She was laughing; too, 
but in her eyes was such a passion of low as 
he had. never looked upon- before.;. In- that 
moment he. knew that" she was his— wholly, 
completely,, irrevocably his. And,.sioftpifig, he 
kissed the upturned lips with the fierce exultation 
of the: .conqueror. . 1 : . 

Her afjns slipped round his neck.. She aban- 
doned herself wholly to him. . : She • gave him 
worship for worship, passion for passion. / 
r Later,- ; he ? awoke to the fact that she was 
drenched from head to foot. He drew her into 
his room and shut the window against the 
driving^ blast. ' She clung to him still. _ - 

" Isn't it. dreadful ? " she said, shuddering. 
" It's just as if Something Big is trying to get 
between us." - >•";.-■ 

He closed the shutter also, and groped for 
matches. She accompanied him on his search, 
for she would not lose touch with him for a 
moment. . 

The lamp flared on her white, childish face, 
showing him wild joy and horror strangely 
mingled; Her great eyes laughed up at him; 

" BiljjHuns, darling ! You aren't very decent, 
are you ? I'm not decent either, Billikins. 
I'd like to take off all my clothes and dance on 
my head." 

He laughed grimly. " You will certainly have 
to undress— ^t he sooner the better." 

She spread out her hands. " But I've nothing 
to wear, Billikinst, nothing but what I've got 

on -uMfeiTO>taw ing to rain so - 



■ 



THE SAKETY-<xin\ 



UN. 




-- *»*oa$u;„ E MAS ^^MERijjj^rar 



244 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



You 11 have to lend me a suit of pyjamas, dear, 
while I get my tilings dried. You see" — she 
halted a little—" I came away in rather a 
hurry. I — was bored." 

Merryon, oddly sobered by her utter depend- 
ence upon him, turned aside and foraged for 
brandy. She came close to him while he poured 
it out. 

" It isn't for me, is it ? I couldn't drink it, 
darling. I shouldn't know what was happening 
for the next twenty-four hours if I did." 

"It doesn't matter whether you do or not," 
he said. " I shall be here to look after you." 

She laughed at that, a little quivering laugh 
of sheer content. Her cheek was against his 
shoulder. " Live for ever, O king ! " she said, 
and softly kissed it. 

Then she caught sight of something on the 
arm below. "Oh, darling, did I do that?*" 
she cried, in distress. 

He put the arm about her. " It doesn't 
matter. I don't feel it," he said. " I've got you." 

She lifted her lips to his again. " Billikins, 
darling, I didn't know it was you — at first, not 
till I heard you laugh. I'd rather die than hurt 
you. You know it, don't you ? " 

" Of course I know it," he said. 

He caught her to him passionately for a 
moment, then slowly relaxed his hold. " Drink 
this, like a good child," he said, " and then you 
must get to bed. You are wet to the skin." 

" I know I am," she said, " but I don't mind." 

" I mind for you," he said. 

She laughed up at him, her eyes like stars. 
" I was lucky to get in when I did," she said. 
" Wasn't the heat dreadful — and the lightning ? 
I ran all the way from the station. I was just 
terrified at it all. But I kept thinking of you, 
dear — of you, and how — and how you'd kissed 
me that night when I was such a little idiot as to 
cry. Must I really drink it, Billikins ? Ah, well, 
just to please you—anything to please you. 
But you must have one little sip first. Yes, 
darling, just one. That's to please your silly 
little wife, who wants to share everything with 
you now. There's my own boy ! Now 111 drink 
every drop — every drop." 

She began to drink, standing in the circle of his 
arm ; then looked up at him with a quick grimace. 
" It's powerful strong, dear. You'll have to 
put me to bed double quick after this, or I shall 
be standing on my head in earnest." 

He laughed a little. She leaned back against 
him. 

" Yes, I know, darling. You're a man that 
likes to manage, aren't you ? Well, you can 
manage me and all that is mine for the rest of 
my natural life. I'm never going to leave you 
again, Billikins. That's understood, is it ? " 

His face sobered. " What possessed you to 
come back to this damnable place ? " he said. 

She laughed against his shoulder. " Now, 
Billikins, don't you start asking silly questions. 
I'll teL you as much as it's good for you to know 
all in good time. I came mainly because I 
wanted to. And that's the reason why I'm 
going to stay. See ? ' 



She reached up an audacious finger and 
smoothed the faint frown from his forehead with 
her sunny, provocative smile. 

" It'll have to be a joint management," she 
said. " There are so many things you mustn't 
do. Now, darling, I've finished the brandy 
to please you. So suppose you look out your 
prettiest suit of pyjamas, and TU try and get 
into them." She broke into a giddy little laugh. 
" What would Mrs. Paget say ? Cant you see 
her face ? I can ! " 

She stopped suddenly, struck dumb by a 
terrible blast of wind that shook the bungalow 
to its foundations. 

" Just hark to the wind and the rain, Billi- 
. kins ! " she whispered, as it swirled on. " Did 
you ever hear anything so awful ? It's as if — 
as if God were very furious — about something. 
Do you think He is, dear ? Do you ? " She 
pressed close to him with white, pleading face 
upraised. " Do you believe in God, Billikins ? 
Honestly now ! " 

The man hesitated, holding her fast in his 
arms, seeing only the quivering, childish mouth 
and beseeching eyes. 

" You don't, do you ? " she said. " I don't 
myself, Billikins. I think He's just a myth. 
Or anyhow — if He's there at all — He doesn't 
bother about the people who were born on the 
wrong side of the safety-curtain. There, dar- 
ling ! Kiss me once more — I love your kisses — 
I love them ! And now go ! Yes — yes, you 
must go — just while I make myself respectable. 
Yes, but you can leave the door ajar, dear 
heart ' I want to feel you close at hand. I 
am yours — till I die — king and master ! " 

Her eyes were brimming with tears ; he 
thought her overwrought and weary, and passed 
them by in silence. 

And so through that night of wonder, of 
violence and of storm, she lay against his heart, 
her arms wound about his neck with a closeness 
which even sleep could not relax. 

Out of the storm she had come to him, like a 
driven bird seeking refuge ; and through the 
fury of the storm he held her, compassing her 
with the fire of his passion. 

" I am safe now," she murmured once, when 
he thought her sleeping. " I am quite— quite 
safe." 

And he, fancying the raging of the storm had 
disturbed her, made hushing answer, " Quite 
safe, wife of my heart." 

She trembled a little, and nestled closer to 
his breast. 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE HONEYMOON. 

" You can't mean to let your wife stay here ! " 
ejaculated the colonel, sharply. " You wouldn't 
do anything so mad ! " 

Merryon s hard mouth took a sterner down- 
ward curve. " My wife refuses to leave me, 
sir," he said. 

"Good lie.ivens above, Merryon!" The 

co,( T?^!&frWpWflfS^li rritated derision - 



THE SAFETY-CURTAIN. 



-245 



" Do you tell me you can't manage — a — a piece 
of thistle-down like that ? " 

Merryon was silent, grimly, implacably 
silent. Plainly he had no intention of making 
such an admission. 

' * It' s madness — criminal madness ! " Colonel 
Davenant looked at him aggressively, obviously 
longing to pierce that stubborn calm with which 
Merryon had so long withstood the world. 

But Merryon remained unmoved, though deep 

in his private soul he knew that the colonel 

was right, knew that he had decided upon a 

^ourse of action that involved a risk which he 

dreaded to contemplate. 

"Oh, look here, Merryon I " The colonel 
lost his temper after his own precipitate fashion. 
" Don't be such a confounded fool 1 Take a fort- 
night's leave — I can't spare you longer — and 
go back to the Hills with her 1 Make her settle 
down with my wife at Shamkura ! Tell her 
you'll beat her if she doesn't ! " 

Merryon's grim face softened a little. '" Thank 
you very much, sir ! But you can't spare me 
even for so long. Moreover, that form of punish- 
ment wouldn't scare her. So, you see, it would 
come to the same thing in the end. She is 
determined to face what I face for the present." 

" And you're determined to let her 1 " growled 
the colonel. 

Merryon shrugged his shoulders. 

" You'll probably lose her," the colonel 
persisted, gnawing fiercely at his moustache. 
" Have you considered that ? " 

" I've considered everything," Merryon said, 
rather heavily. " But she came to me — ■ 
through that inferno. I can't send her away 
again. She wouldn't go." 

Colonel Davenant swore under his breath. 
' Let me talk to her I " he said, after a 
moment. 

The' ghost of a smile touched Merryon's face. 
" It's no good, sir. You can talk. You won't 
make any impression." 

" But it's practically a matter of life and 
death, man ! " insisted the colonel. " You 
can't afford any silly sentiment in an affair 
like this." 

" I am not sentimental," Merryon said, and 
his lips twitched a little with the words. " But 
all the same, since she has set her heart on 
staying, she shall stay. I have promised that 
she shall." 

M You are mad," the colonel declared. " Just 
think a minute I Think what your feelings will 
be if she dies ! " 

" I have thought, sir." The dogged note 
was in Merryon's voice again. His face was a 
mask of impenetrability. " If she dies, I shall 
at least have the satisfaction of knowing that 
I made her happy first." 

It was his last word on the subject. He 
departed, leaving the colonel fuming. 

That evening the latter called upon Mrs. 
Merryon. He found her sitting on her hus- 
band's knee smoking a Turkish cigarette, and 
though she abandoned this unconventional 
attitude to receive her visitor, he had a distinct 



impression that the two were in subtle com* 
munion throughout his stay. 

" It's so very nice of you to take the trouble," 
she said, in her charming way, when he had made 
his most urgent representations. " But really 
it's much better for me to be with my husband 
here. I stayed at Shamkura just as long as I 
could possibly bear it, and then I just had to 
come back here. I don't think I shall get ill — 
really. And if I do " — she made a little foreign 
gesture of the hands — " I'll nurse myself." 

As Merryon had foretold^ it was useless to 
argue with her. She dismissed all argument with 
airy unreason But yet the colonel could not 
find it in his heart to be angry with her. He 
was very angry with Merryon, so angry that for 
a whole fortnight he scarcely spoke to him. 

But when the end of the fortnight came, and 
with it the first break in the rains, little Mrs. 
Merryon went smiling forth and returned his 
call. 

" Are you still being cross with Billikins ? " 
she asked him, while her hand lay engagingly 
in his. " Because it's really not his fault, you 
know. If he sent me to Kamschatka, I should 
still come back." 

" You wouldn't it you belonged to me," 
said Colonel Davenant, with a grudging smile. 

She laughed and shook her head. " Perhaps 
I shouldn't — not unless I loved you as dearly 
as I love Billikins. But I think you needn't 
be cross about it. I'm quite well. If you 
don't believe me, you can look at my tongue." 

She shot it out impudently, still laughing. 
And the colonel suddenly and paternally patted 
her cheek. 

" You're a very naughty girl," he said. 
" But I suppose we shall have to make the 
best of you. Only, for Heaven's sake, don't 
go and get ill on the quiet ! If you begin to 
feel queer, send for the doctor at the outset ! " 

He abandoned his attitude of disapproval 
towards Merryon after that interview, realizing 
possibly its injustice. He even declared in a 
letter to his wife that Mrs. Merryon was an 
engaging chit, with a will of her own that 
threatened to rule them all ! Mrs. Davenant 
pursed her lips somewhat over the assertion, 
and remarked that Major Merryon's wife was 
plainly more at home with men than women. 
Captain Silvester was so openly out of temper 
over her absence that it was evident she had 
been " leading him on with utter heartlessness," 
and now, it seemed, she meant to have the 
whole mess at her beck and call. 

As a matter of fact, Puck saw much more 
of the mess than she desired. It became the 
fashion among the younger officers to drop into 
the Merryons' bungalow at the end of the 
evening. Amusements were scarce, and Puck 
was a vigorous antidote to boredom. She 
always sparkled in society, and she was too 
sweet-natured to snub " the boys," as she 
called them. The smile of welcome was ever 
ready on her little, thin white face, the quick 
jest on her nf.ro We ton ^W|rui^ji m 

" We mustn't be piggy just because we are 



24 6 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 




"SHE WAS VERY DOCU-E, PlMTl AUNG HIS REMARKS WITH SOFT KISSES DROPPED 
IN CONSEQUENTLY ON THE TOP OF HIS HEAD," 



happy," she said to her husband once * ( How 
are they to know we are having our honey- 
moon ? '* And then she nestled close to him, 
whispering, '* It s quite the best honeymoon 
any woman ever had/' 

To which he could make but the one reply. 
pressing her to his heart and kissing the red 
Jips that mocked so merrily when the world 
was looking on. 

She had become the hub of his existence, and 
day by rlay he watched her anxiously, grasping 
his happiness with a feeling that it was too 
great to last. 

T. he rains set in in earnest, and the reck of 
the Plains rose like an evil miasma to the 
turbid heavens The atmosphere was as the 
interior of a steaming cauldron Great toad- 
stools spread like a ioathsome disease over the 
compound. Fever was rife in the camp P 
Mosquitoes buzzed incessantly everywhere, 
and rats began to take refuge in the bungalow. 



Puck was privately terrified at rats, but she 
smothered her terror in her husband's presence 
and maintained a smiling front- They laid 
down poison for the rats, who died horribly 
in inaccessible places, making her wonder il 
they were not almost preferable alive. An J 
then one night she discovered a small snake 
coiled in a corner of her bedroom. 

She fled to Merryon in horror, and he and 
the khiimutgur slew the creature. But Pack's 
nerves were on edge irom that day forward. 
She went through agonies of cold fear when- 
ever she was left alone, and she feverishly 
encouraged the suba herns to visit her during 
her husband's absence on duty. 

He raised no objection till he one day 
returned unexpectedly to find her dancing a 
hornpipe for the benefit of a small, admiring 
crowd to whom she had been administer- 
ing tea. uirgmairrarm 

^IV£IWtLtf UUttMb.UltnNt him at hi* 



THE SAFETY-CURTAIN. 



*47 



entrance, declaring the entertainment at an 
end ; and the crowd soon melted away. 

Then, somewhat grimly, Merryon took his 
wife to task. 

She sat on the arm of his chair with her arms 
round his neck, swinging one leg while she 
listened. She was very docile, punctuating 
his remarks with soft kisses dropped inconse- 
quently on the top of his head. When he 
ended, she slipped cosily down upon his knee 
and promised to be good. 

It was not a very serious promise, and it 
was plainly proffered in a spirit of propitiation. 
Merryon pursued the matter no further, but 
he was vaguely dissatisfied. He had a feeling 
that she regarded his objections as the out- 
come of eccentric prudishness, or at the best 
an unreasonable fit of jealousy. She smoothed 
him down as though he had been a spoilt child, 
her own attitude supremely unabashed ; and 
though he could not be angry with her, an 
uneasy sense of doubt pressed upon him. 
Utterly his own as he knew her to be, yet 
dimly, intangibly, he began to wonder what 
her outlook on life could be, how she regarded 
the tie that bound them. It was impossible 
to reason seriously with her. She floated out 
of his reach at the first touch. 

So that curious honeymoon of theirs con- 
tinued, love and passion crudely mingled, 
union without knowledge, flaming worship and 
blind possession. 

" You are happy ? " Merryon asked her once. 

To which she made ardent answer, " Always 
happy in your arms, O king." 

And Merryon was happy also, though, 
looking back later, it seemed to him that he 
snatched his happiness on the very edge of the 
pit, and. that even at the time he must have 
been half-aware of it. 

When, a month after her coming, the scourge 
of the Plains caught her, as was inevitable, he 
felt as if his new-found kingdom had begun 
already to depart from him. 

For a few days Puck was seriously ill with 
malaria. She came through it with marvellous 
resolution, nursed by Merryon and his bearer, 
the general factotum of the establishment. 

But it left her painfully weak and thin, and 
the colonel became again furiously insistent that 
she should leave the Plains till the rains were over. 

Merryon, curiously enough, did not insist. 
Only one evening he took the little wasted 
body into his arms and begged her — actually 
begged her— to consent to go. 

" I shall be with you for the first fortnight," 
he said. " It won't be more than a six-weeks' 
separation." 

" Six weeks ! " she protested, piteously. 

" Perhaps -less," he said. " I may be able 
to come to you for a day or two in the middle. 
Say you will go — and stay, sweetheart ! Set 
my mind at rest ! " 

" But, darling, you may be ill. A thousand 
things may happen. And I couldn't go back 
to Shamkura. I couldn't ! " said Puck, almost 
crying, clinging fast around his neck. 



" But why not ? " he questioned, gently. 
" Weren't they kind to you there ? Weren't 
you happy ? " 

She clung faster. " Happy, Billikins ! With 
that hateful Captain Silvester lying in wait to 
— to make love to me ! I didn't tell you 
before. But that — that was why I left." 

He frowned above her head. " You ought 
to have told me before, Puck." 

She trembled in his arms. "It didn't seem 
to matter when once I'd got away ; and I 
knew it would only make you cross " 

" How did he make love to you ? " demanded 
Merryon. 

He tried to see her face, but she hid it reso- 
lutely against him. " Don't, Billikins ! It 
doesn't matter now." 

"It does matter," he said, sternly. 

Puck was silent. 

Merryon continued inexorably. " I suppose 
it was your own fault. You led him on." 

She gave a little nervous laugh against his 
breast. " I never meant to, Billikins. I — I don't 
much like men — as a rule." 

" You manage to conceal that fact very suc- 
cessfully," he said. 

She laughed again rather piteously. " You 
don't know me," she whispered. " I'm not — 
like that — all through." • 

" I hope not," said Merryon, severely. 

She turned her face slightly upwards and 
snuggled it into his neck. " You used not to 
mind," she said. 

He held her close in his arms the while he 
steeled himself against her. "Well, I mind 
now," he said. " And I will have no more of it. 
Is that clearly understood ? " 

She assented dubiously, her lips softly kissing 
his neck. " It isn't — all my fault, Billikins," 
she whispered, wistfully, " that men treat me— 
lightly." 

He set his teeth. " It must be your fault," 
he declared, firmly. " You can help it if you 
try." 

She turned her face more fully to his. " How 
grim you look, darling ! You haven't kissed me 
for quite five minutes. ' 

" I feel more like whipping you," he said, 
grimly. 

She leapt in his arms as if he had been about 
to put his words into action. " Oh, no ! " she 
cried. " No, you wouldn't beat me, Billikins. 
You — you wouldn't, dear, would you ? " Her 
great eyes, dilated and imploring, gazed into 
his for a long desperate second ere she gave 
herself back to him with a sobbing laugh. 
" You're not in earnest, of course. I'm silly 
to listen to you. Do kiss me, darling, and not 
frighten me any more ! ' 

He held her close, but still he did not comply 
with her request. " Did this Silvester ever kiss 
you ? " he asked. 

She shook her head vehemently, hiding her 
face. 

" Look atrg^ijjphe said. 

" No, Billikins ! " she protested. 

" Then tell me the truth ! " he said. 



24S 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



"He kissed me— 
once. BilJikins,* 1 came 
in distressed accents 
from his shoulder, 

"And you?" Mer- 
ry oil's words sounded 
clipped and cold. 

She shivered. u Iran 
ri^ht away to you. I 
—I didn't feel safe any 
more/' 

Merry on sat silent. 
Somehow he could not 
stir u p his anger against 
her, albeit his inner 
consciousness told him 
that she had been to 
blame ; but for the first 
time his passion was 
cooled. He held her 
without ardour, the 
while he wondered. 

That night he awoke 
to the sound of her low 
so bin iig at his si d e . His 
heart smote him He 
put forth a comforting 
hand. 

6he crept Into his 
arms. " Oh, Blllikins, ' ' 
she whispered, *' keep 
me with you ! I'm not 
safe — by myself/' 

The man's soul 
stirred within him. 
Dimly he began to 
understand what his 
protection meant to 
her. It was her anchor, 
alt she had to keep her 
from the whirlpools. 
Without it she was at 
the mercy of every 
wind that blew. Again 
cold doubt assailed him, 
but he put it forcibly 
away, He gathered her 
close, and kissed the 
tears from her face and 
the trouble from her 
heart. 




CHAPTER VIII. 

THE MOUTH OF THE PIT. 

So Puck liad her 
way and stayed. 

She was evidently sublimely happy — at least 
In Merry on' s society, but she did not pick up 
her strength very quickly, and but for her 
unfiling hi'di spirits !\k:n-yon would have felt 
anxious about her. There seemed to be nothing 
of her, She was not like a creature of flesh and 
blood. Yet how utterly, how abundantly, she 
satisfied him! She poured out her love to him in 
a perpetual offering that never varied or grew 
less. She gave him freely, eagerly, glowingly, all 
s!io h id to give. With passionate triumph she 



HE 1CISSEJ? ME — ONCE, RILLTKINS,' CAME IN DISTRESSED ACCENTS 

from his sholtli>i;k." 



answered lo his need. And that need was growing. 
He could not blind himself to the fact. His pro- 
fession no longer rilled his life. There were times 
when he even resented its demands upon him. 
The sick list was rapidly growing, and from 
morning till night Ms days were fulL 

Puck made no complaint. She was always 
waiting for him. however late the hour of his 
return. She was always in his arms the moment 
the dripping mercofit ajs removed. Sometimes 

he ^tflWft^H^'^l MrtKI r+S^- H*™* and ****** 



THE SAFETY-CURTAIN. 



249 



with regimental accounts and other details far 
into the night. It was not his work, but; someone 
had to do it, and it had devolved upon him. 

Puck never would go to bed without him. 
It was too lonely, she said ; she was afraid of 
snakes, or rats, or bogies. She used to curl up 
on the charpoy in his room, clad in the airiest 
of wrappers,- and doze the time away till he was 
ready. 

One night she actually fell into a sound sleep 
thus, and he, finishing his work, sat on and on, 
watching her, loath to disturb her. There was 
deep pathos in her sleeping face. Lines that in 
her waking moments were never apparent were 
painfully noticeable in repose. She had the 
puzzled, wistful look of a child who has gone 
through trouble without understanding it, a hurt 
and piteous look. 

He watched her thus till a sense of trespass 
came upon him, and then he rose, bent over her, 
and very tenderly lifted her. 

She was alert on the instant 4 with a sharp 
movement of resistance. Then at once her 
arms went round his neck. " Oh, darling, is 
it you ? Don't bother to carry me ! You're so 
tired." 

He smiled at the idea, and she nestled against 
his heart, lifting soft lips to his. 

He carried her to bed, and laid her down, 
but she would not let him go immediately. 
She yet clung about his neck, hiding her" face 
against it. 

He held her closely. " Good night, little pal 
— little sweetheart/' he said. 

Her arms tightened. " Billikins ! " she said. 

He waited. " What is it, dear ? " 

She became a little agitated. He could feel 
her lips moving-, but they said no audible word. 

He waited in silence. And -suddenly she raised 
her face and looked at him fully. There was a 
glory in her eyes such as he had never seen 
before. } , -■ 

" I dreamt last night that the wonderfullest 
thing happened," she said, her red lips quivering 
close to his own. " Billikins, what if — the dream" 
came true ? " - 

A hot wave of feeling went through him at her 
words. He crushed her to him, feeling the quick 
beat of her heart against his own, the throbbing 
surrender of her whole being to his. He kissed 
her burningly, with such a passion of devotion 
as had never before moved him. 

She laughed rapturously. "Isn't it great, 

Billikins ? -' she said. " And I'd have missed 

it all if it hadn't been for you. Just think— if 

I hadn't jumped — before the safety-curtain — 

came — down I " - . 

She was speaking between his kisses, and 
i- eventually they stopped her. 

"Don't think," he said; "don't think!" 

It was the beginning of a new era, the entrance 

i a new element into their lives. Perhaps till 

lat night he had never looked upon her wholly 
in the light of wife. His blind passion for her 
had intoxicated him. She had been to him an 

If from fairyland, a being elusive who offered 

im all the magic of her love, but upon whom 

Vol. m<-i7. 



he had no claims. But from that night his 
attitude towards her underwent a change. Very 
tenderly he took her into his own close keeping. 
She had become human in his eyes, no longer 
a wayward sprite, but a woman, eager-hearted, 
and his own. He gave her reverence because of 
that womanhood which he had only just begun 
to visualize in her. Out of his passion there had 
kindled a greater fire. All that she had in life 
she gave him, glorying in the gift, and in return 
he gave her love. 

All through the days that followed he watched 
over her with unfailing devotion — a devotion 
that drew her nearer to him than she had ever 
been before. She was ever responsive to his 
mood, keenly susceptible to his every phase of 
feeling. But, curiously, she took no open 
notice of the change in him. She was sublimely 
happy, and like a child she lived upon happiness, 
asking no questions. He never saw her other 
than content. 

Slowly that month of deadly rain wore on. 
The Plains had become a vast and fetid swamp, 
the atmosphere a weltering, steamy heat, 
charged with fever, leaden with despair. 
" But Puck was like a singing bird in the heart 
of the wilderness. She lived apart in a paradise 
of her own, and even the colonel had to relent 
again and bestow his grim smile upon her. 

" Merryon's a lucky devil, " he said, and every- 
one in the mess agreed with him. 

But, "You wait ! " said Macfarlane, the 
doctor, with gloomy emphasis. " There's more 
to come." 

It was on a night of awful darkness that he 
uttered this prophecy, and his hearers were in 
too overwhelming a state of depression to debate 
the matter. 

Merryon's bungalow was actually the only 
one in the station in which happiness reigned. 
They were sitting together in his den, smoking 
a great many cigarettes, listening to the per- 
petual patter of the rain on the roof and the 
drip, drip, drip of it from gutter to veranda, 
superbly, content and ' ' completely weather- 
proof," as Puck expressed it. 

"I hope none of the~ boys will turn up to- 
night," she said* " We haven't room for more 
than two, have we ? " * 

" Oh, someone is sure to come," responded 
Merryon. " They'll be getting bored directly, 
and come along here for coffee." 

" There's someone there now," said Puck, 
cocking her head. " I think I shall run along 
to bed and leave you to do the entertaining. 
Shall I ? " 

She looked at him with a mischievous smile, 
very bright-eyed and alert. 

" It would be a quick method of getting rid 
of them," remarked Merryon. 

She jumped up. " Very well, then. I'll go, 
shall I ? Shall I, darling ? " 

He reached out a hand and grasped her wrist. 
" No," he said, deliberately, smiling up at her. 
" You'll stay and do your duty — unless you're 
tired," he added. " Are you ? " 

She stooped to bc&tow a swift caress upon his 

IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



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TEE STRAND MAGAZINE. 




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forehead. ** My own Eillikins ! " she murmured. 
" You're the kindest husband that ever was. 
Of course, I'm going to stay/' 

She could scarcely have effected her escape 
had she so desired, for already a hand was on 
the door. She turned towards it with the 
roguish smile still upon her lips. 
. Merryon was looking at her at the moment. 
She interested him far more than the visitor, 
whom he guessed to be one of the subalterns. 
And so looking, he saw the smile freeze upon 
her face to a mask-like immobility. And very 
suddenly he remembered a man whom he had 
once seen killed on a battlefield — killed in- 
stantaneously — while laughing at some joke. 
The frozen mirth, the starting eyes, the awful 
vacancy where the soul had been — he saw them 
all again in the face of his wife. 

"Great heavens, Puck! What is it?" he 
said, and sprang to his feet. 

In the same instant she turned with the move- 
ment of one tearing herself free from an evil 
spell, and flung herself violently upon his breast. 
11 Oh, Billikins, save me — save me ! " she 
cried, and broke into hysterical sobbing. 

His arms were about her in a second, shelter- 
ing her, sustaining her. His eyes went beyond 
her to the open door. 

A man was standing there — a bulky, broad- 
featured, coarse-lipped man with keen black 
eyes that twinkled maliciously between thick 
lids, and a black beard that only served to 
emphasize an immensely heavy under-jaw. 
Merryon summedl him up swiftly as a Portu- 
guese American with more than a dash of 
darker blood in his composition. 

He entered the room in a fashion that was 
almost insulting. It was evident that he was 
summing up Merryon also. 

The latter waited for him, stiff with hostility, 
his arms still tightly clasping Puck's slight, 
cowering form. He spoke as the stranger 
advanced, in his voice a deep menace like the 
growl of an angry beast protecting its own. 

•' Who are you ? And what do you want ? " 

The stranger's lips parted, showing a gleam 
of strong white teeth. "My name," he said, 
speaking in a peculiarly soft voice that somehow 
reminded Merryon of the hiss of a reptile, " is 
Leo Vulcan, You have heard of me ? Per- 
haps not. I am better known in the Western 
Hemisphere. You ask me what I want ? " 
He raised a brown, hairy hand and pointed 
straight at the girl in Merryon's arms. " I 
want — my wife ! " 

Puck's cry of anguish followed the announce- 
u nt, and after it came silence — a tense, hard- 
h lathing silence, broken only by her long- 
d lwd, agonized sobbing. 

Merryon's hold had tightened all unconsciously 
t a grip ; and she was clinging to him wildly, 
c nvulsively. as she had never clung before. 
I - could feel the horror that pulsed through her 
\ ns ; it set his own blood racing at fever-speed. 
>ver her head he faced the stranger with 
e s of steely hardness. " You have made a 
1 stake," he said, briefly and sternly. 

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The other man's teeth gleamed again. He had 
a way of lifting his lip when talking which gave 
him an oddly bestial look. " I think not," he 
said. "Let the lady speak for herself! She 
will not — I think — deny me." 

There was an intolerable sneer in the last 
sentence. A sudden awful doubt smote through 
Merryon. He turned to the girl sobbing at his 
breast. 

" Puck," he said, " for Heaven's sake — whet 
is this man to you ? " 

She did not answer him ; perhaps she could 
not. Her distress was terrible to witness, 
utterly beyond all control. 

But the new-comer was by no means dis- 
concerted by it. He drew near with the utmost 
assurance. 

*' Allow me to deal with her ! " he said, and 
reached out a hand to touch her. 

But at that action Merryon's wrath burst 
into sudden flame. " Curse you, keep away ! " 
he thundered. "Lay a finger on her at your 
peril ! " 

The other stood still, but his eyes gleamed 
evilly. " My good sir," he said, " you have 
not yet grasped the situation. It is not a 
pleasant one for you — for either of us ; but it 
has got to be grasped. I do not happen to 
know under what circumstances you met this 
woman ; but I do know that she was my 
lawful wife before the meeting took place. 
In whatever light you may be pleased to 
regard that fact, you must admit that legally 
she is my property, not yours ! " 

" Oh, no — no — no ! " moaned Puck. 

Merryon said nothing. He felt strangled, as 
if a ligature about his throat had forced all 
the blood to his brain and Confined it there. 

After a moment the bearded man continued. 
" You may not know it, but she is a dancer of 
some repute, a circumstance which she owes 
entirely to me. I picked her up, a mere child 
in the streets of London, turning cart-wheels for 
a living. I took her and trained her as an 
acrobat. She was known on the stage as 
Toby the Tumbler. Everyone took her for 
a boy. Later, she developed a talent for 
dancing. It was then that I decided to marry 
her. She desired the marriage even more 
than -I did." Again he smiled his brutal smile. 

" Oh, no ! " sobbed Puck. "Oh, no ! " 

He passed on with a derisive sneer. ' ' We 
were married about two years ago. She 
became popular on the halls very soon after, 
and it turned her head. You may have dis- 
covered yourself by this time that she is not 
always as tractable as she might be. I had 
to teach her obedience and respect, and 
eventually I succeeded. I conquered her — as 
I hoped — completely. However, six months 
ago she took advantage of a stage fire to give 
me the slip, and till recently I believed that 
she was dead. Then a friend of mine — 
Captain Silvester — met her out here in India 
a few weeks back at a place called Shamkura, 
and recognized her. Her dancing qualities are 
superb. I think s&e displayed them a little 

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rashly if she really wished to remain hidden. 
He sent me the news, and I have come myself 
to claim her — and take her back." 

" You can't take me back ! " It was Puck's 
voice, but not as Merryon had ever heard it 
before. She flashed round like a hunted 
creature at bay, her eyes blazing a wild defiance 
into the mocking eyes opposite. " You can't 
take me back!" she repeated, with quivering 
insistence. " Our marriage was — no marriage ! 
It was a sham — a sham ! But even if — even 
if — it had been — a true marriage — you would 
have to — set me — free — now." 

" And why ? " said Vulcan, with his evil 
smile. 

She was white to the lips, but she faced him 
unflinching. " There is — a reason," she said. 

" In— deed ! " He uttered a scoffing laugh 
of deadly insult. " The same reason, I presume, 
as that for which you married me ? " 

She flinched at that — flinched as if he had 
Struck her across the face. " Oh, you brute ! " 
she said, and shuddered back against Merryon's 
supporting arm. " You wicked brute ! " 

It was then that Merryon wrenched himself 
free from that paralyzing constriction that 
bound him, and abruptly intervened. 

" Puck," he said, " go ! Leave us ! I will 
deal with this matter in my own way." 

She made no move to obey. Her face was 
hidden in her hands. But she was sobbing no 
longer, only sickly shuddering from head to 
foot. 

He took her by the shoulder. " Go, child, 
go ! " he urged. 

But she shook her head. "It's no good," 
she said. " He has got — the whip-hand." 

The utter despair of her tone pierced straight 
to his soul. She stood as one bent beneath a 
crushing burden, and he knew that her face 
was burning behind the sheltering hands. 

He still held her with a certain stubbornness 
of possession, though she made no further 
attempt to cling to him. 

" What do you mean by that ? " he said, 
bending to her. "Tell me what you mean! 
Don't be afraid to tell me ! " 

She shook her head again. " I am bound," 
she said, dully, " bound hand and foot." 

" You mean that you really are — married to 
him ? " Merryon spoke the words as it were 
through closed lips. He had a feeling as of 
being caught in some crushing machinery, of 
being slowly and inevitably ground to shapeless 
atoms. 

Puck lifted her head at length and spoke, 
not looking at him. " I went through a form 
of marriage with him," she said, " for the sake 
of — of — of — decency. I always loathed him. 
I always shall. He only wants me now because 
I am — -I have been — valuable to him. When 
he first took me he seemed kind. I was nearly 
starved, quite desperate, and alone. He offered 
to teach me to be an acrobat, to make a living. 
I'd better have drowned myself." A little 
tremor of passion went through her voice ; 
she paused to steady it, then went on, " He 



by LiOOglC 



taught by fear — and cruelty. He opened my 
eyes to evil. He used .to beat me, too — tie 
me up in the gymnasium — and beat me with 
a whip till — till I was nearly beside myself 
and ready to promise anything — anything, only 
to stop the torture. And so he got everything 
he wanted from me, and when I began to be 
successful as a dancer he — married me. I 
thought it would make things better. I didn't 
think, if I were his wife, he could go on ill- 
treating me quite so much. But I soon found 
my mistake. I soon found I was even more 
his slave than before. And then — just a week 
before the fire — another woman came, and told 
me that it was not a real marriage; that — 
that he had been through exactly the same form 
with her — and there was nothing in it." 

She stopped again at sound of a low laugh 
from Vulcan. " Not quite the same form; my 
dear," he said. " Yours was as legal and 
binding as the English law could make it. I 
have the certificate with me to prove this. 
As you say, you were valuable to me then — - 
as you will be again, and so I was careful that 
the contract should be complete in every 
particular. Now — if you have quite finished 
your — shall we call it confession ? — I suggest 
that you should return to your lawful husband 
and leave this gentleman to console himself 
as soon as may be. It is growing late, and it 
is not my intention that you should spend 
another night under his protection." 

He spoke slowly, with a curious, compelling 
emphasis, and as if in answer to that com- 
pulsion Puck's eyes came back to his. 

" Oh, no! " she said, in a quick, frightened 
whisper. " No ! I can't ! I can't ! " 

Yet she made a movement towards him as it 
drawn irresistibly. 

And at that movement, wholly involuntary 
as it was, something in Merryon's brain seemed 
to burst. He saw all things a burning, intoler- 
able red. With a strangled oath he caught 
her back, held her violently — a prisoner in his 
arms. 

"By God, no I" he said. " I'll kill you 
first ! " 

She turned in his embrace. She lilted her 
lips and passionately kissed him. "Yes, kill 
me ! Kill me ! " she cried to him. " I'd rather 
die!" 

Again the stranger laughed, though his eyes 
were devilish. " You had better come without 
further trouble," he remarked. " You will only 
ad4 to your punishment — which will be no light 
one as it is — by these hysterics. Do you wish 
to see my proofs ? " He addressed Merryon 
with sudden open malignancy. " Or am I to 
take them to the colonel of your regiment ? " 

" You may take them to the devil ! " Merryon 
said. He was holding her crushed to his heart. 
He flung his furious challenge over her head. 
"If the marriage was genuine you shall set her 
free. If it was not " — he paused, and ended in 
a voice half -choked with passion — " you can go 
to blazes! " 

The other man showed his teeth in a wolfish 

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snarl. 4t She is my wife," he said, in his slow, 
sibilant way. " I shall not set her free. And — 
wherever I go, she will go also." 

" If you can take her, you infernal black- 
guard ! " Merryon threw at him. " Now get 
out. Do you hear ? Get out — if you don't want 
to be shot! Whatever happens to-morrow, I 
swear by God in heaven she shall not go with 
you to-night ! " 

The uncontrolled violence of his speech was 
terrible. His hold upon Puck was violent also, 
more violent than he knew. Her whole body 
lay a throbbing weight upon him, and he was 
not even aware of it. 

" Go 1 " he reiterated, with eyes of leaping 

flame. " Go ! or " He left the sentence 

uncompleted. It was even more terrible than 
his flow of words had been. The whole man 
vibrated with a wrath that possessed him in a 
fashion so colossal as to render him actually 
sublime. He mastered the situation by the 
sheer, indomitable might of his fury. There 
was no standing against him. It would have 
l>een as easy to stem a racing torrent. 

Vulcan, for all his insolence, realized the fact. 
The man's strength in that moment was gigantic, 
practically limitless. There was no coping with 
it. Still with the snarl upon his lips he turned 
away. 

" You will pay for this, my wife," he said. 
•* You will pay in full. When I punish, I punish 
well." 

He reached the door and opened it, still 
leering back at the limp, girlish form in Merryon's 
arms. 

" It will not be soon over," he said. " It will 
take many days, many nights, that punishment 
—till you have left off crying for mercy, or 
expecting it." 

He was on the threshold. His eyes 
suddenly shot up with a gloating hatred to 
Merryon's. 

" And you/' he said, " will have the pleasure 
of knowing every night when you lie down 
alone that she is either writhing under the lash 
— a frequent exercise for a while, my good sir — 
or finding subtle comfort in my arms; both 
pleasant subjects for your dreams." 

He was gone. The door closed slowly, noise- 
lessly, upon his exit. There was no sound of 
departing feet. 

But Merryon neither listened nor cared. He 
had turned Puck's deathly face upwards, and 
was covering it with burning, passionate kisses, 
drawing her back to life, as. it were, by the fiery 
intensity of his worship. 

CHAPTER IX. 

GREATER THAN DEATH, 

She came to life, weakly gasping. She opened 
her eyes upon him with the old, unwavering 
adoration in their depths. And then before 
his burning look hers sank. She hid her face 
against him with an inarticulate sound more 
anguished than any weeping. 

The savagery went out of his hold. He drew 
her to the charpoy on which she had spent so 

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many evenings waiting for him, and made her 
sit down. 

She did not cling to him any longer ; she only 
covered her face so that he should not see it, 
huddling herself together in a piteous heap, her 
black, curly head bowed over her knees in an 
overwhelming agony of humiliation. 

Yet there was in the situation something that 
was curiously reminiscent of that night when 
she had leapt from the burning stage into 
the safety of his arms. Now, as then, she 
was utterly dependent upon the charity of 
his soul. 

He turned from her and poured brandy and 
water into a glass. He- came back and knelt 
beside her. 

" Drink it, my darling 1 " he said. 

She made a quick gesture as of surprised 
protest. She did not raise her head. It was 
as if an invisible hand were crushing her to th§ 
earth. 

" Why don't you — kill me ? " she said. 

He laid his hand upon her bent head. " Be- 
cause you are the salt of the earth to me," he 
said ; " because I worship you." 

She caught the hand with a little sound of 
passionate endearment, and laid her face down 
in it, her hot, quivering lips against his palm. 
" I love you so ! " she said. " I love you so 1 " 

He pressed her face slowly upwards. But she 
resisted. " No, no I I can't — meet — your — 
eyes." 

" You need not be afraid," he said. " Once 
and for all, Puck, believe me when I tell you 
that this thing shall never— can never— come 
between us." 

She caught her breath sharply ; but still she 
refused to look up. " Then you don't under- 
stand," she said. " You — you — can't under- 
stand that — that — I was — his — his " Her 

voice failed. She caught his hand in both her 
own, pressing it hard over her face, writhing in 
mute shame before him. 

" Yes, I do understand," Merryon said, and 
his voice was very quiet, full of a latent force 
that thrilled her magnetically. " I understand 
that when you were still a child this brute tock 
possession of you, broke you to his will, did as 
he pleased with you. I understand that you 
were as helpless as a rabbit in the grip of a 
weasel. I understand that he was always an 
abomination and a curse to you, that when 
deliverance offered you seized it ; and I do not 
forget that you would have preferred death if 
I would have let you die. Do you know, Puck " 
— his voice had softened by imperceptible 
degrees ; he was bending towards her so that she 
could feel his breath on her neck while he spoke 
— " when I took it upon me to save you from 
yourself that night I knew — I guessed — what 
had happened to you ? No, don't start like that I 
If there was anything to forgive 1 forgave you 
long ago. I understood. Believe me, though I 
am a man, I can understand." 

He stopped. His hand was all wet with her 
tears. "Oh, darling!" she whispered. "Oh, 
darling 1" 

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"Don't cry, sweetheart! " he said. "And 
don't be afraid any longer! I took you from 
your inferno. I learnt to love you — just as you 
were, dear, just as you were. You tried to keep 
me at a distance ; do you remember ? And 
then — you found life was too strong for you. You 
came back and gave yourself to me. Have you 
ever regretted it, my darling ? Tell me that ! " 

" Nevei*! " she sobbed. " Never! Your love 
— your love — has been — the safety-curtain — 
always — between me and — harm/' 

And then very suddenly she lifted her face, 
her streaming eyes, and met his look. 

"But there's one thing, darling," she said, 
"which you must know. I loved you always — 
always — even before that monsoon night. BuJ 
I came to you then because — because — I knew 
that I had been recognized, and — I was afraid — 
I was terrified — till — till I was safe in your arms. ' ' 

" Ah 1 But you came to me," he said. 

A sudden gleam of mirth shot through her woe. 
" My ! That was a night, Billikins ! " she said. 
And then the clouds came back upon her, over- 
whelming her. " Oh, what is there to laugh at ? 
How could I laugh ? " 

He lifted the glass he held and drank from it, 
then offered it to her. " Drink with mel" he 
said. 

She took, not the glass, but his wrist, and 
drank with her eyes upon his face. 

When she had finished she drew his arms 
about her, and lay against his shoulder with 
closed eyes for a space, saying no word. 

At last, with a little murmuring sigh, she 
spoke. " What is going to happen, Billikins ? " 

"God knows," he said. 

But there was no note of dismay in his voice. 
His hold was strong and steadfast. 

She stirred a little. " Do you believe in 
God ? " she asked him, for the second time. 

He had not answered her before ; he answered 
her now without hesitation. " Yes, I do." 

She lifted her head to look at him. " I wonder 
why ? " she said. 

He was silent for a moment; then, " Just 
because I can hold you in my arms," he said, 
"and feel that nothing else matters — or can 
matter again." 

" You really feel that ? " she said, quickly. 
" You really love me, dear ? " 

" That is love," he said, simply. 

'*Oh, darling!" Her breath came fast. 
"Then, if they try to take me from you — you 
will really do it — you won't be afraid ? " 

" Do what ? " he questioned, sombrely. 

" Kill me, Billikins," she answered, swiftly. 
" Kill me — sooner than let me go." 

He bent his head. "Yes." he ^tid. "My 
love is strong enough for that." 

" But what would you do — afterwards ? " 
she breathed, her lips raised to his. 

A momentary surprise showed in his eyes. 
" Afterwards ? " he questioned. 

" After I was gone, darling ? " she said, 
anxiously. 

A very strange smile came over Merryon's 
face. He pressed her to him, his eyes gazing 



deep into hers. He kissed her, but not passion- 
ately, rather with reverence. 

" Your afterwards will be mine, dear, wher- 
ever it is," he said. " If it comes, to that — if 
there is any going — in that way — we go together." 

The anxiety went out of her face in a second. 
She smiled back at him with utter confidence. 
" Oh, Billikins ! " she said. " Oh, Billikins, 
that will be great I " 

She went back into his arms, and lay there 
for a further space, saying no word. There was 
something sacred in the silence between them, 
something mysterious and wonderful. The drip, 
drip, drip of the ceaseless rain was the only 
sound in the stillness. They seemed to be alone 
together in a sanctuary that none other might 
enter, husband and wife, made one by the 
Bond Imperishable, waiting together for deliver- 
ance. They were the most precious moments 
that either had ever known, for in them they were 
more truly wedded in spirit than they had ever 
been before. 

How long the great silence lasted neither could 
have said. It lay like a spell for awhile, and like 
a spell it passed. 

Merryon moved at last, moved and looked down 
into his wife's eyes. 

They met his instantly without a hint of 
shrinking; they even smiled. "It must be 
nearly bed-time," she said. " You are not going 
to be busy to-night ? " 

" Not to-night," he said. 

" Then don't let's sit up any longer, darling," 
she said. " We can't either of us afford to lose 
our beauty sleep." 

She rose with him, still yrith her shining eyes 
lifted to his, still with that brave gaiety sparkling 
in their depths. She gave his arm a tight little 
squeeze. " My, Billikins, how you've grown 1 " 
she said, admiringly. ' ' You always were — pretty 
big. But to-night you're just — titanic! " 

He smiled and touched her cheek, not speaking. 

" You fill the world," she said. 

He bent once more to kiss her. " You fill 
my heart," he said. 



by L^OOgle 



CHAPTER X. 

THE SACRIFICE. 

They went round the bungalow together to 
see to the fastenings of doors and windows. 
The khitmutgar had gone to his own quarters 
for the night, and they were quite alone. The 
drip, drip, drip of the rain was still the only 
sound, save when the far cry of a prowling 
jackal came weirdly through the night. 

" It's more gruesome than usual somehow," 
said Puck, still fast clinging to her husband's 
arm. " I'm not a bit frightened, darling, only 
sort of creepy at the back. But there's nobody 
here but you and me, is there ? " 

" Nobody," said Merryon. 

" And will you please come and see if there 
are any snakes or scorpions before I begin to 
undress ? " she said. " The very fact of 
looking under my bed makes my hair stand 
on end." 

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He went with her and made a thorough in- 
vestigation, finding nothing. 

"That's all right,' ' she said, with a sigh of 
relief. " And yet, somehow, I feel as if something 
is waiting round the corner to pounce out on 
us. Is it Fate, do you think ? Or just my silly 
fancy ? " 

" I think it is probably your startled nerves, 
dear," he said, smiling a little. 

She assented with a half-suppressed shudder. 
" But I'm sure something will happen 
directly," she said. " I'm sure. I'm sure." 

" Well, I shall only be in the next room if it 
does," he said. 

He was about to leave her, but she sprang 
after him, clinging to his arm. " And you won't 
be late, will you ? " she pleaded. " I can't 
sleep without you. Ah, what is that ? What is* 
it? What is it?" 

Her voice rose almost to a shriek. A sudden 
loud knocking had broken through the endless 
patter of the rain. 

Merryon's face changed a very little. The iron- 
grey eyes became stony, quite expressionless. 
He stood a moment listening. Then, " Stay 
here ! " he said, his voice very level and 
composed. " Yes, Puck, I wish it. Stay 
here ! " 

It was a distinct command, the most distinct 
he had ever given her. Her clinging hands slipped 
from his arm. She stood rigid, unprotesting, 
white as death. 

The knocking was renewed with fevered energy 
as Merryon turned quietly to obey the summons. 
He closed the door upon his wife and went down 
the passage. 

There was no haste in his movements as he 
slipped back the bolts, rather the studied delibera- 
tion of purpose of a man armed against all 
emergency^ But the door bnrst inwards against 
him the moment he opened it, and one of his 
subalterns, young Harley, almost fell into his 
arms. 

Merryon steadied him with the utmost com- 
posure. *' Halloa, Harley ! You, is it? What's 
all this noise about ? " 

The boy pulled himself together with an effort. 
He was white to the lips. 

"There's cholera broken out," he said. 
u Forbes and Robey — both down — at their 
own bungalow. And they've got it at the 
barracks too. Macfarlane's there. Can you 
come ? " 

"Of course — at once." Merryon pulled him 
forward. " Go in there and get a drink while I 
speak to my wife ! " 

He turned back to her door, but she met him 
on the threshold. Her eyes burned like stars 
in her little pale face. 

' It's all right, Billikins," she said, and 
swallowed haTd. " I heard. You've got to go 
to the barracks, haven't you, darling ? I knew 
there was*feoing to be — something. Well, you 
must take » something to eat in your pocket. 
You'll want it before morning. And some brandy 
too. Give me your flask, darling, and I'll fill 

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Her composure amazed him. He had expected 
anguished distress at the bare idea of his leaving 
her, but those brave, bright eyes of hers were 
actually smiling. 

" Puck ! " he said. " You — wonder ! " 

She made a small face at him. " Oh, you're 
not the only wonder in the world," she told him. 
"Run along and get yourself ready! My! 
You are going to be busy, aren't you ? " 

She nodded to him and ran into the drawing- 
room to young Harley. He heard her chatting 
there while he made swift preparations for 
departure, and he thanked Heaven that she 
realized so little the ghastly nature of the horror 
that had swept down upon them. He hoped 
the boy would have the sense to let her remain 
unenlightened. It was bad enough to have to 
leave her after the ordeal they had just faced 
together. He did not want her terrified on his 
account as well. 

But when he joined them' she was still smiling, 
eager only to provide for any possible want of 
his, not thinking of herself at all. 

" I hope you will enjoy your picnic, Billikins," 
she said. "I'll shut the door after you, and I 
shall know it's properly fastened. Oh, yes, 
the khit will take care of me, Mr. Harley. He's 
such a brave man. He kills snakes without the 
smallest change of countenance. Good night, 
Billikins ! Take care of yourself 1 I suppose 
you'll come back some time ? " 

She gave him the lightest caress imaginable, 
shook hands affectionately with young Harley, 
who was looking decidedly less pinched than he 
had upon arrival, and stood waving an energetic 
hand as they went away into the dripping dark. 

" You didn't tell her — anything ? " Merryon 
asked, as they plunged down the road. 

" Not more than I could help, major. But she 
seemed to know without." The lad spoke 
uncomfortably, as if against his will. 

" She asked questions, then ? " Merryon's 
voice was sharp. 

" Yes, a few. She wanted to know about 
Forbes and Robey. Robey is awfully bad. I 
didn't tell her that." 

" Who is looking after them ? " Merryon 
asked. 

"Only a native orderly now. The colonel 
and Macfarlane both had to go to the barracks. 
It's frightful there. About twenty cases already. 
Oh, hang this rain ! " said Harley, bitterly. 

" But couldn't they take them — Forbes, I 
mean, and Robey — to the hospital ? " questioned 
Merryon. 

" No. To tell you the truth, Robey is pegging 
out, poor old fellow, It's always the best chaps 
that go first, though, Heaven knows, we may be 
all gone before this time to-morrow." 

" Don't talk like a fool ! " said Merryon, 
curtly. 

And Harley said no more. 

They pressed on through nrud that was ankle- 
deep to the barracks. 

There during all the nightmare hours that 
followed Merryon worked with the strength of 
ten'. He gave no voluntary thought to his wife 

IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



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THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



waiting for hint in loneliness, but ever and anon 
those blazing eyes of hers rose before his mental 
vision, and he saw again that brave, sweet smile 
with which she had watched him go. 

The morning found him haggard but in- 
domitable, wrestling with the difficulties of 
establishing a camp a mile or more from the 
barracks out in the rain-drenched open. There 
had been fourteen deaths in the night, and 
seven men were still fighting a losing battle for 
their lives in the hospital. He had a native 
officer to help him in his task ; young Harley 
was superintending the digging of graves, and 
the colonel had gone to the bungalow where the 
two stricken officers lay. 

Dink and gruesome dawned the day, with the 
smell of rot in the air and the sense of death 
hovering over all. And there came to Merryon 
a sudden, overwhelming desire to go back to his 
bungalow beyond the fetid town and see how 
his wife was faring. She was the only white 
woman in the. place, and the thought of her 
isolation came upon him now like a fiery torture. 

It was the fiercest temptation he had ever 
known. Till that day his regimental duties 
had always been placed first with rigorous 
determination* Now for the first time he found 
himself torn by conflicting ties. The craving 
for news of her possessed him like a burning 
thirst. Yet he knew that some hours must 
elapse before he could honestly consider himself 
free to go. 

He called an orderly at last, finding the sus- 
pense unendurable, and gave him a scribbled 
line to carry to his wife. 

"Is all well, sweetheart? Send back word 
by bearer," he wrote, and told the man not to 
return without an answer. 

The orderly departed, and for a while Merryon 
devoted himself to the matter in hand, and 
crushed his anxiety into the background. But 
at the end of an hour he was chafing in a fever 
of impatience. What delayed the fellow ? 
In Heaven's name, why was he so long ? 

Ghastly possibilities arose in his mind, fears 
unspeakable that he dared not face. He forced 
himself to attend to business, but the suspense 
was becoming intolerable. He began to realize 
that he could not stand it much longer. 

He was nearing desperation when the colonel 
came unexpectedly upon the, scene, unshaven 
and haggard as he was himself, but firm as a 
rock in the face of adversity. 

He joined Merryon, and received the latter's 
report, grimly taciturn. They talked together 
for a space of needs and expediencies. The fell 
disease had got to be checked somehow. He 
spoke of recalling the officers on leave. There 
had been such a huge sick list that summer that 
they were reduced to less than half their normal 
strength. 

" You're worth a good many," he said to 
Merryon, half-grudgingly, " but you can't work 

miracles. Besides, you've got " He broke 

off abruptly. " How's your wife ? " 

" That's what I don't know, sir." Feverishly 
Merryon made answer. " I left her last night. 



bydGOgle 



She was well then. But since — I sent down an 
orderly over an hour ago. He's not come back." 

"Confound it I " said she colonel, testily. 
" You'd better go yourself." 

Merryon glanced swiftly round. 

" Yes, go, go ! " the colonel reiterated, 
irritably. "I'll relieve you for a spell. Go and 
satisfy yourself — and me ! None but an infernal 
fool would have kept her here," he added, in a 
growling undertone, as Merryon lifted a hand in 
brief salute and started away through the sodden 
mists. 

He went as he had never gone in his life 
before, and as he went the mists parted before 
him and a blinding ray of sunshine came smiting 
through the gap like the sword of the destroyer. 
The simile rushed through his mind and out 
again, even as the grey mist-curtain closed once 
more. 

He reached the bungalow. It stood like a 
shrouded ghost, and the drip, drip, drip of the 
rain on the- veranda came to him like a death- 
knell. 

A gaunt figure met him almost on the 
threshold, and he recognized his messenger 
with a sharp senss of coming disaster. The 
man stood mutely at the salute. 

" Well ? Well ? Speak ! " he ordered, 
nearly beside himself with anxiety. " Why 
didn't you come back with an answer ? " 

The man spoke with deep submission. 
" Sahib, there was no answer." 

" What do you mean by that ? What the 

Here, let me pass I " cried Merryon, in a 
ferment. " There must have been — some sort 
of answer." 

" No, sahib. No answer." The man spoke 
with inscrutable composure. " The mem-sahib 
has not come back," he said. " Let the sahib 
see for himself." 

But Merryon had already burst into the 
bungalow ; so he resumed his patient watch on 
the veranda, wholly undisturbed, supremely 
patient. 

The khitmutgar came forward at his master's 
noisy entrance. There was a trace — just the 
shadow of a suggestion— of anxiety on his 
dignified face under the snow-white turban. He 
presented him with a note on a salver with a 
few murmured words and a deep salaam. 

" For the sahib f s hands alone," he said. 

Merryon snatched up the note and opened it 
with shaking hands. 

It was very brief, pathetically so, and as he 
read a great emptiness seemed to spread and 
spread around him in an ever-widening desola- 
tion. 

" Good-bye, my Billikins ! " Ah, the pitiful, 
childish scrawl she had made of it ! "I've 
come to my senses, and I've gone back to him. 
I'm not worthy of any sacrifice of yours, dear. 
And it would have been a big sacrifice. You 
wouldn't like being dragged through the mud, 
but I'm used to it. It came to me just that 
moment that you said * Yes, of course/ when 
Mr. Harley came to call you back to duty. 
Duty is better than a worthless woman, my 

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259 



Billikins, and I was never fit to be anything 
more than a toy to you — a toy to play with 
and toss aside* And 50 good-bye, good-bye 3 " 

The scrawl ended with a little cross at the 
bottom of the page. Me looked up from it with 
eyes gone blind with pain and a stunned and 
awful sense of loss. 



best thing she 
You ought to 



"When did the 
questioned, dully. 

The khitntutgar bent 
"The mem- sahib went in 
hour before mid- 
night. Your 
servant followed 
her to the ddk- 
bungalow to 
protect her from 
hud mashes, but 
she* dismissed me 
ere she entered 
in. Sahtb, I could 
do no more." 

The mans eyes 
appealed for one 
instant, but fell 
the next before 
the dumb despair 
that looked out 
of his master's 

There fell a 
terrible silence — 
a pause, as it 
were, of sus- 
pended i vita3ity > 
while the iron bit 
deeper and deeper 
into tissues too 
numbed to feel. 

Then, " Fetch 
me a drink ! " 
said ^Merryon, 
curtly. " I must 
be getting back 
to duty/* 

And with sound- 
less promptitude 
the man with- 
drew, thankful to 
make his escape. 



m*wt- sahib go 



he 



his stately person, 
haste/' he said. " an 




MERRYON SNATCHED UP THE NOTE AND OPENED IT 
WITH SHAKING HANDS." 



CHAPTER XI. 

THE SACRED FIRE, 

" Well ? Is she 
all right?" 
Almost angrily 

the colonel flung the question as his second-in- 
command came back heavy-footed through the 
rain He had been through a nasty period of 
suspense himself during Merryon's absence. 

Merryon nodded. His face was very pale and 
bis lips seemed stiff. 

* ' She has — gone, sir/ ' he managed to say, after 
a moment, 

"Gone, has she?" The colonel raised his 
brows in astonished interrogatior 






Taken fright at last ? Well, 

could do, all things considered. 

be very thankful." 
He dismissed the subject for more pressing 

matters, and he never noticed the awful white- 
ness of Merryon's face or the deadly fixity of his 

look 

Macfarlane noticed both, coming up two hours 

later to report the death of one of the officers at 

the bungalow. 

11 For Heaven's sake, man, have some 

brandy!*' he 
said, proffering 
a flas!c of his own. 
" You're looking 
pretty unhealthy. 
What i s it? 
Feeling a bit off, 
eh 1 " 

He held Mer* 
ryon's wrist while 
he drank the 
brandy, regard- 
ing him with a 
troubled frown 
the while, 

' ' What i 3 the 
matter with you, 
man ? " he said, 
" You're not 
frightening 
yourself r You 
wouldn't be such 
a fool I " 

Merry on did 
not answer. He 
wa s never vol u bl e 
To-day he seemed 
tongue-tied, 

Macfarlane 
continued with 
an uneasy effort 
to hide a certain 
doubt stirring in 
his mind* "1 
hear there was 
a European died 
at the ddk-bunga- 
low early this 
morning, I 
wanted to £0 
round and. see. 
but I haven't 
been able. It s 
fairly widespread, 
but there 3 s no 
sense in getting 

scared, Halloa, Merr yon ! ' h 

He broke off, staring. Merryon had given a 

great start, He looked Hke a man stabbed 

suddenly from a dream to full consciousness. 
" A European— at the dak-bungalow — dead, 

did you say ? "" 

His words tumbled over each other ; he 

gripped Macfarlane' s shoulder and shook it with 

fierce impatience. . 

"So I hea*3nc|inabtr*l"kncw any details, 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



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THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



How should I ? Merryon, are you mad ? " 
Macfarlane put up a quick hand to free himself, 
2or the grip was painful. " He wasn't a friend 
of yours, I suppose ? He wouldn't have been 
putting up there if he had been." 

" No, no; not — a friend." The words came 
jerkily. Merryon was breathing in great spasms 
that shook him from head to foot. " Not — a 
friend!" he said again, and stopped, gazing 
before him with eyes curiously contracted as the 
eyes of one striving to discern something a long 
way off. 

Macfarlane slipped a hand under his elbow. 
" Look here/' he said, " you must have a rest. 
You can be spared for a bit now. Walk back 
with me to the hospital, and we will see how 
things are going there." 

His hand closed urgently. He began to draw 
him away. 

Merryon 's eyes came back as it were out of 

space, and gave him a quick side-glance that 

was like the turn of a rapier. " I must 

"go down to the ddk-bungalow," he said, with 

decision. 

Swift protest rose to the doctor's lips, but it 
died there. He tightened his hold instead, and 
went with him. 

The colonel looked round sharply at their 
approach, looked — and swore under his breath. 
" Yes, all right, major, you'd better go," he 
said. " Good-bye." 

Merryon essayed a grim smile, but his ashen 
face only twisted convulsively, showing his set 
teeth. He hung on Macfarlane's shoulder while 
the first black cloud of agony possessed him and 
slowly passed. 

Then, white and shaking, he stood up. " I'll 
get round to the ddk now, before I'm any 
worse. Don't come with me, Macfarlane! I'll 
take an orderly." 

"I'm coming," said Macfarlane, stoutly. 

But they did not get to the ddk-bungalow, or 
anywhere near it. Before they had covered 
twenty yards another frightful spasm of pain 
came upon Merryon, racking his whole being, 
depriving him of all his powers, wresting from 
him every faculty save that of suffering. He 
went down into a darkness that swallowed him, 
soul and body, blotting out all finite things, 
loosening his frantic clutch on life, sucking him 
down as it were into a frightful emptiness, 
where his only certainty of existence lay in 
the excruciating agonies that tore and con- 
vulsed him like devils in some inferno under 
the earth. 

Of time and place and circumstance there- 
after he became as completely unconscious as 
though thev had ceased to be, though once or 
twice he was aware of a merciful hand that 
gave him opium to deaden — or was it only to 
prolong ? — his suffering. And aeons and eternities 
passed over him while he lay in the rigour of 
perpetual torments, not trying to escape, only 
writhing in futile anguish in the bitter dark of 
the prison-house. 

Later, very much later, there came a time 
when the torture gradually ceased or became 



merged in a deathly coldness. During that stage 
his understanding began to come back to him 
like the light of a dying day. A vague and dread- 
ful sense of loss began to oppress him, a feeling 
of nakedness as though the soul of him were 
already slipping free, passing into an appalling 
void, leaving an appalling void behind. He lay 
quite helpless and sinking, sinking — slowly, 
terribly sinking into an overwhelming sea of 
annihilation. 

With all that was left of his failing strength 
he strove to cling to that dim light which he 
knew for his own individuality. The silence 
and the darkness broke over him in long, 
soundless waves ; but each time he emerged 
again, cold, cold as death, but still aware of 
self, aware of existence, albeit the world he knew 
had dwindled to an infinitesimal smallness, as 
an object very far away, and floating ever 
farther and farther from his ken. 

Vague paroxysms of pain still seized him from 
time to time, but they no longer affected him in 
the same way. The body alone agonized. The 
soul stood apart on the edge of that dreadful 
sea, shrinking afraid from the black, black 
depths and the cruel cold of the eternal night. 
He was terribly, crushingly alone. 

Someone had once, twice, asked him a vital 
question about his belief in God. Then he had 
. been warmly alive. He had held his wife close 
in his arms, and nothing else had mattered. But 
now — but now — he was very far from warmth 
and life. He was dying in loneliness. He was 
perishing in the outer dark, where no hand 
might reach and no voice console. He had 
believed — or thought he believed — in God. But 
now his faith was wearing very thin. Very soon 
it would crumble quite away, just as he himself 
was crumbling into the dreadful silence of the 
ages. His life — the brief passion called life — 
was over. Out of the dark it had come ; into the 
dark it went. And no one to care — no orie to 
cry farewell to him across that desolation of 
emptiness that was death! No one to kneel 
beside him and pray for light in that awful, 
all-encompassing dark! 

Stay ! Something had touched him even then. 
Or was it but his dying fancy ? Red lips he 
had kissed and that had kissed him in return, 
eager arms that had clung and clung, eyes of 
burning adoration ! Did they truly belong all 
to the past ? Or were they here beside him 
even now — even now ? Had he wandered back- 
wards perchance into that strange, sweet heaven 
of love from which he had been so suddenly and 
terribly cast out ? Ah, how he had loved her ! 
How he had loved her 1 Very faintly there 
began to stir within him the old fiery longing 
that she, and she alone, had ever waked within 
him. He would worship her to the last flicker 
of his dying soul. But the darkness was spread- 
ing, spreading, like the yawning of a great gulf 
at his feet. Already he was slipping over the 
edge. The light was fading out of his sky. 

It was the last dim instinct of nature that made 
him reach out a groping hand, and with lips that 
would scarcely move to whisper, " Puck ! " 



by LiOOglC 



■■-■I I '-1 1 1 I '.1 1 I \\ 



UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE SA^ETYClTRTAIN. 



2<>I 



He did not expect an answer. The thitfgs of 
earth were ddne with. His life was passing 
swiftly, swiftly, like the sands running out of 
a glass. He had lost her already, and the world 
bad sunk away, away, with all warmth and 
light and love. 

Yet out of the darkness all suddenly there came 
a voice, eager, passionate, persistent. " I am 
here, Billikins ! I am here ! Come back to 
me, darling ! Come back ! " 

He started at that voice, started and paused, 
holding back as it were on the very verge of the 
precipice. So she was there indeed ! He could 
hear her sobbing breath. There came to him 
the consciousness of her hands clasping his, 
and the faintest, vaguest glow went through 
his ice-cold body. He tried, piteously weak as 
he was, to bend.his fingers about hers. 

And then there came the warmth of her lips 
upon them, kissing them with a fierce passion of 
tenderness, drawing them close as if to breathe 
her own vitality into his failing pulses. 

' ' Open your eyes to me, darling ! ' ' she besought 
him. " See how I love you ! And see how I want 
your love! I can't do without it, Billikins. 
It's my only safeguard. What ! He is dead ? 
I say he is not — he is not ! Or if he is, he shall 
rise again. . He shall come back. - See ! He is 
looking at me ! How dare you say he is 
dead ? " 

The wild anguish of her voice reached him, 
pierced him, rousing him. as no other power on 
earth could have roused him. Out of that 
deathly inertia he drew himself, inch by inch, 
as out of some clinging swamp. His hand found 
strength to tighten upon hers. He opened his 
eyes, leaden-lidded as they were, and saw her 
face all white and drawn, gazing into his own 
with such an agony of love, such a consuming 
fire of worship, that it seemed as if his whole 
being were drawn by it, warmed, comforted, 
revived. 

She hung* above him, fierce in her devotion, 
driving back the destroyer by the sheer burning 
intensity of her love. " You sha'n't die, 
Billikins ! " she told him, passionately. " You 
can't die — now I am here ! " 

She stooped her face to his. He turned his 
hps instinctively to meet it, and suddenly it 
was as though ,a flame had kindled between 
them — hot, ardent, compelling. His dying pulses 
thrilled to it, his blood ran warmer. 

"You — have — come — back!" he said, with 
slow articulation. 

" My darling — my darling ! " she made quiver- 
ing answer. " Say I've come — in time ! " 

He tried. to speak again, but could not. Yet 
the deathly cold was giving way like ice before 
the sun. He could feel his heart beating where 
before he had felt nothing. A hand that was 
not Puck's came out of the void beyond her 
and held a spoonful of spirit to his mouth. He 
swallowed it with difficulty, and was conscious 
of a greater warmth. 

" There, my own boy, my own boy ! " she 
murmured over him. " You're coming back 
to me. Say you're coming back ! " 



His lips quivered like a child's. He forced 
them to answer her. " If you — will — stay," 
he said . 

" I will never leave you again, darling," she 
made swift answer. "Never, never again! 
You shall have all that you want — all — all 1 " 

Her arms closed about him. He felt the 
warmth of her body, the passionate nearness 
of her soul ; and therewith the flame that had 
kindled between them leaped to a great and 
burning glow, encompassing them both — the 
Sacred Fire. 

A wonderful sense of comfort came upon hirh. 
He turned to her as a man turns to only one 
woman in all the world, and laid his head upon 
her breast. 

" I only want — my wife/' he said. 



CHAPTER XII. 

FREEDOM. 

It took him many days to climb back up that 
slope down which he had slipped so swiftly in 
those few awful hours. Very slowly, with 
painful effort, but with unfailing purpose, he 
made his arduous way. And through it all 
Puck never left his side. 

Alert and vigilant, very full of courage, very 
quielc of understanding, she drew him, leaning 
on her, back to a life that had become strangely 
new to them both. They talked very little, 
for Merryon's strength was terribly low, and 
Macfarlane, still scarcely believing in the miracle 
that had been wrought under his eyes, forbade 
all but the simplest and briefest speech — a 
prohibition which Puck strenuously observed ; 
for Puck, though she knew the miracle for an 
accomplished fact, was not taking any chances. 

" Presently, darling ; when you're stronger," 
was her invariable answer to any attempt on 
his part to elicit information as to the events 
that had immediately preceded his seizure. 
" There's nothing left to fret about. You're 
here — and I'm here. And that's all that 
matters." 

If her lips quivered a little over the last 
assertion, she turned her head away that he might 
not see. For she was persistently cheery in 
his presence, full of tender humour, always 
undismayed. 

He leaned upon her instinctively. She 
propped him so sturdily, with a strength so 
amazing and so steadfast. Sometimes she 
laughed softly at his weakness,, as a mother 
might laugh at the first puny efforts of her baby 
to stand alone. And he knew that she loved his 
dependence upon her, even in a sense dreaded 
the time when his own strength should reassert 
itself, making hers weak by comparison. 

But that time was coming, slowly yet very 
surely. The rains were lessening at last, and the 
cholera-fiend had been driven forth. Merryon 
was to go to the Hills on sick leave for several 
weeks. Colonel Davenant had awaked to the 
fact that his life was a valuable one, and his 
admiration for Mrs. Merryon was undisguised. 
He did not altogether understand her behaviour, 
but he was discreet enough not to seek that 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



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262 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE, 



enlightenment which only one 
man in the world was ever to 
receive. 

To that man on the night 
before their departure came 
Puck, very pale and resolute, 
with shining, unwavering eyes. 
She knelt down before him 
with small hands tightly 
cla sped. 

" I'm going to say some- 
thing d read f u 1 . Billikins , ' ' 
she said. 

He looked at her for a 
moment or two in silence. 
Then, *' I know what you 
are going to say/* he said. 

She shook her head. ■' Oh, 
nu, you don t, darling. It's 
something that'll make you 
frightfully angry." 

The faintest gleam of a 
smile crossed Merryon's face, 
11 With you ? " he said. 

She nodded, and suddenly 
her eyes were brimming with 
tears. " Yes, with me/' 

He put his hand on her 
shoulder. i( I tell you, I know 
what it is/* he said, with a 
certain stubbornness. 

She turned her cheek for a 
moment to caress the hand ; 
then suddenly all her strength 
went from her. She sank down 
on the floor at his feet, 
huddled together in a woeful 
heap, just as she had been cm 
that first night when the 
safety-curtain had dropped 
behind her. 

" You'll never forgive me ! ** 
she sobbed. |H But I knew — 1 
knew — I always knew ! " 

•' Knew what, child ? M He 
over her. His hand, trembling still with weak" 
ness, was on het* head. " But, no, don't teU 
me!" he said, and his voice was deeply tender. 
*' The feilow is dead, isn't he ? ' J 

"Oh, yes, he's dead/' Quiveringly, between 
piteous sobs, she answered him M He— was 
dying before I reached him — that dreadful 
night. He just — had strength left — to curse 
me ! And I am cursed T I am cursed ! " 

She flung out her arms wildly, clasping bis 
feet. 

He stooped lower over her, ' ' Hush — hush I " 
he said. 

She did not seem to hear. " I let you take me 
—I stained your honour — I wasn't a free woman, 
I tried to think I was; but in my heart— I 
always knew— I always knew! I wouldn't 
have your love at first — because I knew. And 
1 came to you- — that monsoon night — chiefly 
because— I wanted— when he came after me— 
as I knew he would come — to force him — to set 
me— free/' 




YOU 1 — HAVE— COME— BACK 



HE SAID. 



MY DARLING— MY 



was stooping 



by Google 



Through bitter sobbing the confession came ; 
in bitter sobbing it ended. 

But still Merryon's hand was on her head, 
still his face was bent above her, grave and sad 
and pitiful, the face of a strong man enduring 
grief. 

After a little, haltingly, she spoke again. 
"And I wasn't coming back to you — ever. 
Only — someone— a syc& — -told me you had been 
stricken down. And then I had to come, I 
couldn't leave you to die, That's all — that's 
all ! I'm going now. And I sha'n't come 
back. I'm not — your wife. You're quite, 
quite free. And I'll never — bring shame on 
you— -a gain. J " 

Her straining hands tightened. She kissed 
the feet she clasped. |( I'm a wicked, wicked 
woman/' she said. " 1 was born — on the wrong 
side— o f t he safety -en rtain . Th at ' s no — excuse ; 
only — to make you understand. 1 ' 

She would have withdrawn herself then, but 
his hands held her. She covered her face, 
kneeling between thrm. 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE SAFETY CURTAIN. 



263 




Darling !* she made avswer. 'say Vve come— in time! 



,J VVhy do you want me to understand ? " 
he said, his voice very low. 

Shequivered at thequestion, making no attem pt 
to answer, just weeping silently therein his hold 

He leaned towards her, albeit he was trembling 
with weakness. " Puck, listen ! ,1 he said. 
" I do understand/' 

She caught her breath and became quite still. 

M Listen again ! J ' he said. " What is done — 
is done ; and nothing can alter it. But — your 
future is mine. You have forfeited the right 
to leave me.*' 

She uncovered her face in a flash to gaze at 
him as one confounded. 

He met the look with eyes that held her own. 
ir I say it," he said. " You have forfeited the 
right. Yon say I am free. Am I free ? " 

She nodded, still with her eyes on his. " I 
have — no claim on you/' she whispered, brokenly. 

His hands tightened ; he brought her nearer 
to him. r ' And when that dream of yours comes 
true/' he said, " what then ? What then ? 

bj/GOO 1 ?^ END 



Her face quivered painfully 
at the question. She swallowed 
once or twice spasmodically, 
like a hurt child trying not 
to cry + 

"That's — nobody's business 
but mine/ J she said. 

A very curious smile drew 
Merryon's mouth. " I thought 
I had had something to do 
with it/' he said. " I think 
I am entitled to part -owner- 
ship, anyway/' * 

She shook her head, albeit 
she was very close to his 
breast. 4r You're not, Eilli- 
kins T h she declared, with 
vehemence " You only say 
that— out of pity. And I 
don't want pity, I — I'd 
rather you hated me than 
that? Miles rather I " 

His arms went round her. 
He uttered a queer, passionate 
laugh and drew her to his 
heart. " And what if I offer 
you— love f " he said, " Have 
you no use for that either, my 
wife — my wife ? " 

She turned and clung to him, 
clung fast and desperately, as 
a drowning person clings to a 
spar. "But Tmnot, Billikins! 
I'm not'" she whispered, 
with her face hidden. 

'* You shall be/' he made 
steadfast answer. " Before 
God you shall be/' 

41 Ah, do you believe in 
God?" she murmured. 
" I do/ J he said, firmly. 
She gave a little sob. "Oh, 
Billifeins, so do I, At least, I 
think I do; but I'm half afraid, 
even now, though I did try to do — the right thing 
I shall only know for certain — when the dream 
comes true/' Her face came upwards, her lips 
moved softly against his neck. " Darling/' she 
whispered, "don't you hope— it'll be— a boy ? " 
He bent his head mutely* Somehow speech 
was difficult. 

But Puck was not wanting speech of him just 
then, She turned her red lips to his. 4I But even 
if it's a girl, darling, it won't matter, forshe'llbe 
born on the right side of the safety -curtain now, 
thanks to your goodness, your generosity." 
He stopped her sharply, " Puck ! Puck ! M 
Their lips met* Puck was sobbing a little and 
smiling at the same time. 

" Your love is the safety- curtain, Billikins 
darling/' she whispered, softly. " And I'm 
going to thank God for it — every dav of my life/ ' 
" My darling \ " he said. " My wife ! " 
Her eyes shone up to his through tears. "Oh. 
do you realize/' she said, "that we have risen 
from the dead ?Q rjgjna|from 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



\ 



CURIOSITIES. 

| We ihall be glad to recetve Contributions to On* section^ and to pay for such as are accepted*} 



FURNITURE FROM 
SKELETONS. 

THE queerest trade yet I The 
old gentleman here seen 
makes furniture from oJd bones t 
and it is rather attractive furni- 
ture, too, although the sections of 
ribs and vertebra? are not disguised 
by upholstery or other covering. 
They are not carved or otherwise 
beautified, simply cleaned and 
polished ; but l he odd shapes of 
the bones , when arranged in sym- 
metrical lines, give the appearance 
oi elaborate work with the chjseL 
The raw material for this unique 
furniture is found in the shape of 
stranded bones or even skeletons 
of whales, which may be seen, as 
hett shown, on the sands of the 
Pacific Coast. The old gentleman, 
who was photographed in a whale- 
bone chair of his own in ake T collects 
these fragments and turns them 
into comfortable and picturesque 
seats for the porch, lawn, or den. 
The parts are held together by iron 
rods and bolts, so that this furni- 
ture is exceptionally solid and 
heavy. This cabinet-maker in a strange material lives 
near Redondo, one of the coast towns, where a whale 
can be sighted occasional ly, and after a stortn he 





shop front completely covered with inscriptions in 
white chalk, and a huge ** Just Married*' si£n above 
the do it\ The remarks written upon the shop were 
, more jovial thai] wittv, such as "Poor 
Butch," " We told you so/* " Why did 
I do it ? " and much more to the same 
effect. The modest home had not been 
forgotten either, and when the happy 
couple tried to slip into the front door 
in the dark they tripped upon three old 
shoes that had been nailed to the porch, 
and on examining the premises the fol- 
lowing morning found that a festoon 
of discarded footwear had been tacked 
in artistic fashion at the entrance of 
their little nest. 



BRIDGE PROBLEM. 
By Ernest B bug holt. 

Hearts— Ace, jj 4, 3, 
Cluta-& 

D i nu Luttd s — K ing* 
Spades — King, 



may be seen scanning the beaches for fresh material 
for his workshop- — Mr. C L. Ed holm, Wyoming, 
Rhode Island, U5.A. 



Hi-an* — None. 
Clubs— iq. 
l.hjiriiomJh — CJl, J. 
Sp.idei— Qjec[] f 
5- 



CONGRATULATIONS ! 

THIS is what sometimes happens in America to 
the happy couple on their return from the honey - 
mooB— that is, if they have plenty of friends, for such 
attentions are a proof of popularity* A California 
bu tclier who has assumed the wedded yoke found his 




Hearts— King, iel 
Clubs— None. 
Diamonds— Queen, 

knave- 
Spades-*- io, 9, 4* 



Hearts— s 8. 
Clubs — Knuve, 
Diamonds— Ace t 10. 
Spade >> — Ace, knave. 8* 
Cluli* art trumps, and A ha 1 * the lead. A and B are to 
all ihe «tevpn tricl** sigg.-iinsf any pis&ihle. defence. 

{Mu/wk mJil A* pAbiiskdd in iwurf month** rj**&> 

IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



ng& Absorbing [* 
slalment of V/OIl?,!! 



Di » History of the Britj 
OylCS Campaign in Fram 




SEPTEMBERfl E gTff. F 



^ HutUUbnl monthly fey UEOKGE NEWNKS, Ltd., (J to H f Southampton Strut. 




It will interest and 
repay you. 




Wirr: "Comfort, Pre-^on.* 



WOOD-MILNE, LTD., PRESTON. E&L. ,«■*.«, 



LONDON: Manchester Avenue, EC. 

Bristol, Lkkds, Manchester, BiftMfXKiiAM, Glasgow, bKi.b'ANT, Durlin.&c. 



Wire: M If ytvroinft I-onddft." 
THcpliyire : City 4707. 



»*c* s°+ 






UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



J 



p rtnfJ f , Original from 

tV UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




"'AS GINGER'S WIFE, YES,' I MUTTERED; 'AS THE CURSED SPY I KNOW YOU 

TO BE, NO—A THOUSAND TIMES .NO!"' 

<a*/«# a74 .)DriginaTfrom 
uiguizeo oy \jmKJ\j^i\. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE STRAND 
MAGAZINE. 



SEPTEMBER, 191&, 
Vol. 52. No. 309. 



SPUD TREVOR 
OF THE RED HUSSARS. 

Bjr "SAPPER." 

Author of " The Lieutenant and Oihen "and " Sergeant Michael Cassidy,R.E." 

Illustrated by Stanley Davis. . 



\L *j B i % 1 



T would be but a small exag- 
geration to say that in every 
God-forsaken hole and corner 
of the . world where soldiers 
lived and moved and had 
their being before Nemesis 
overtook Europe, the name of 
Spud Trevor of ^the Red Hussars was known. 
From Simla to Singapore, . from Khartoum 
to the Curfagh, his name was symbolical of 
all that a regimental officer should be. , Senior 
subalterns, guiding the erring feet of the young 
and frivolous frpm the tempting paths . of 



understanding and knowledge, perfected now 
in the Great Silence to which he has gone, 
accept my tardy reparation and forgive. 
It is only yesterday that the document, 
which explained everything, came into my 
hands. It was sent to me sealed, and with 
it a short - covering letter from a firm of 
solicitors stating that their client was dead — 
killed in France — and that according to 
his instructions they were forwarding the 
enclosed, with the request that I should 
make such use of it as I saw fit. 

To all those others who, like myself, 
doubted I address these words. Many have 



night clubs and fair , ladies to the infinitely 

better ones, pf hunting and sport, were apt gone under; to them, I venture to think, 

to quote/ hi**}-- Adjutants had been known everything is now clear. Maybe they have 



to. hold l$imup as an example to those of 
their, flopk .yfroj needed chastening for any 
of the. hurtled and- one things that adjutants 
do not. Iike-^-if they have their regiment at 
hearts And he deserved it all. 

I, who knew, him as well, perhaps, as any- 
one ; I, who was privileged to call him friend, 
ajjd yet in the hour of his greatest need failed 
him ; I, to whose lot it has fallen to vindicate 
the slur on his name, state it in no half- 
hearted way. He deserved it, and a thousand 
times as much again. He was the type of 
man beside whom the ordinary English gentle- 
man — a so-called white man — looked dirty- 
grey in comparison. And yet there came a 
day when men who had openly fawned. on 
him left the room when he came in, when 
whispers of an unsuspected yellow streak 
in him began to circulate, when senior 
subalterns no longer held him up*as a mpdel. 
Now he is dead, and it has been left to me 
to vindicate him. Perchance by so doing I 
m4y wipe out a little of the stain of guilt 



already met Spud in the great vast gulfs 
where the mists of illusion are rolled away. 
For those who still live he has no abuse — that 
incomparable sportsman and sahib — no recri- 
minations for us who ruined his life. He 
goes farther and finds excuses for us j God 
knows we need them. Here is what he has 
written. (The document is reproduced exactly 
as I received it — saving only that I have 
altered all names. The man whom I have 
called Ginger Bathurst, and everyone else 
concerned, will, I think, recognize themselves. 
And, pour les dutres — let them guess.) 

In two days, old friend, my battalion sails 
for France; and now, with the intention 
full formed and fixed in my mind that I shall 
not return, I have determined to put down on 
paper, the true facts of what happened three 
years ago ; or, rather, the true motives that 
impelled me to do what I did. ; I put it that 
way, because you. already know -the facts. 
You know that! was accusedof saving my 



that lies £6 heavy on my heart; perchance - life at the expense pf; a woman's when the 

I may atone, in some small degree, for my Astoria foundered in mid- Atlantic ; you know 

doubts and suspicions ; and perchance, too, that I was accused of having thrust her aside 

the whitest man that ever lived may, of his and takm,- ^r|Tpl^fleLjmuthg|.|boat. That 

VoL HL— 181 Copyright in the United State* of America. 



268 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE, 



accusation is true. I did save my life at a 
woman's expense. But the motives that 
impelled my action you do not know, nor the 
identity of the woman concerned. I hope 
and trust that when you have read what I 
shall write you will exonerate me from the 
charge of a cowardice vile and abominable 
beyond words, and at the most only find me 
guilty of a mistaken sense tif duty. These 
words will only reach you in the .event of 
my death — do with them what you will. I 
should like to think that the old name was 
once again washed clean of the dirty- blot it 
has on it now ; so do your best for me, old 
pal, do your best. 

You remember Ginger Bathurst ? Of 
course you do. Is he still a budding staff 
officer at the War Office, I wonder, or is he 
over the water ? I'm out of touch with the 
fellows in these days. {The pathos of it. Spud 
out of touch — Spud, of all men, whose sotd 
was in the Army.) One doesn't live in the 
back of beyond for three years and find 
Army lists and gazettes growing on the trees. 
You remember also, I suppose, that I was 
best man at his wedding when he married the 
Comtesse de Grecin. I told you at the time 
that I was not particularly enamoured of his 
choice, but it was his funeral ; and with the 
old boy asking me to steer him through I 
had no possible reason for refusing. Not 
that I had anything against the woman — 
she was charming, fascinating, and had a 
pretty useful share of this world's boodle. 
Moreover, she seemed extraordinarily in love 
with Ginger, and was just the sort of woman 
to push an ambitious fellow like him right 
up to the top of the tree. He, of course, was 
simply idiotic ; he was stark, raving mad 
about her ; vowed she was the most peerless 
woman that ever a wretched being like him- 
self had been privileged to look at ; loaded 
her with presents which he couldn't afford, 
and generally took it a good deal worse than 
usual. I think, in a way, it was the calm 
acceptance of those presents that first pre- 
judiced me against her. Naturally, I saw 
a lot of her before they were married, being 
such a pal of Ginger's, and I did my best 
for his sake to overcome my dislike. But he 
wasn't a wealthy man — at the most he had 
about six hundred a year private means— 
and the presents of jewellery alone that he 
gave her must have made a pretty large hole 
in his capital; 

However, that is all by the way. They 
were married, and shortly afterwards I took 
my leave big-game shooting and lost sight 
of them for a while. When I came back 



Ginger was at the War Office and they were 
living in London. They had an extremely 
nice flat in Hans Crescent, and she was pushing 
him as only a clever woman can push. Every- 
body who could be of the slightest use to 
him sooner or later got roped in to dinner 
and was duly fascinated. 

To an habitual onlooker like myself the 
whole thing was clear, and I must quite 
admit that much of my first instinctive dis- 
like — and dislike is really too strong a word — 
evaporated. She went out of her way to be 
-charming to me, not that I could be of any 
use to the old boy, but merely because I was 
his great friend ; and, of course, she knew 
that I realized — what he never dreamed 
of — that she was paving the way to pull 
some really big strings for him later. 

I remember saying good-bye to her one 
afternoon after luncheon, at which I had 
watched with great interest the complete 
capitulation of two generals and a well-known 
diplomatist. 

44 You're a clever man, Mr. Spud," she 
murmured, with that charming air of taking 
one into her confidence with which a woman 
of the world routs the most confirmed 

misogynist. " If only Ginger " She 

broke off and sighed — just the suggestion of 
a sigh ; but sufficient to imply — lots. 

" My lady," I answered, " keep him fit; 
make him take exercise--above all things 
don't let him get fat. Even you would be 
powerless with a fat husband,. But, pro- 
vided you keep him thin and never let him 
decide anything for himself, he will live to 
be a lasting monument and example of what 
a woman can do. And warriors and states- 
men shall bow down and worship, what time 
they drink tea in your boudoir and eat buns 
from your hand. Bismillah ! " 

But time is short, and these details are 
trifling. Only once again, old pal, I am 
living in the days when I moved in the 
pleasant paths of life, and the temptation 
to linger is strong. Bear with me a moment. 
I am a sybarite for the moment in spirit ; 
in reality — God ! how it hurts ! 

Gentlemen rankers out on the spree, 
Damned from here to eternity. 
God have mercy on such as we. 
Bah! Yah! Bah! 

I never thought I should live to prove Kipling's 
lines. But that's what I am — a gentleman 
ranker, going out to the war of wars — a 
private. I — and that's the bitterest part of 
it — I, who had, as you know full well, 
always, for years, lived for this war ? the war 
against those cursed Germans! I knew it 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



SPUD TREVOR OF THE RED HUSSARS. 



269 




TOU'RK A CLEV 



j mr- spud/ sKEQruw'aWtoTin 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



270 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



Vas coming — you'll bear me witness of that 
fact — and the cruel irony of Fate that has 
made that very knowledge my downfall is not 
the lightest part of the little bundle Fate has 
thrown on my shoulders. Yes, old man, 
we're getting near the motives now ; but 
all in good time. Let me lay it out dramati- 
cally; don't rob me of my exit — I'm feeling 
a bit theatrical this evening. It may interest 
you to know that I saw Lady Delton to-day ; 
she's a V.A.D., and did not recognize me, 
thank Heaven ! 

(Need I say again that Delton is not the 
name he wrote ? Sufficient that she and Spud 
knew one another very well in other days. 
But in some men it would have emphasized 
the bitterness of spirit.) 

Let's get on with it. A couple of years 
passed, and the summer of 191 2 found me 
in New York. I was temporarily engaged 
on a special job which it is unnecessary to 
specify. It was not a very important one, 
but, as you know, a gift of tongues and a 
liking for poking my nose into the affairs of 
nations had enabled me to get a certain 
amount of more or less diplomatic work. 
The job was over, and I was merely marking 
time in New York waiting for the Astoria to 
sail. Two days before she was due to leave, 
and just as I was turning into the doors of 
my hotel, I ran full tilt into Von Basel — a 
very decent fellow in the Prussian Guard — 
who was seconded and doing military attache 
work in America. I'd met him, off and on, 
hunting in England — one of the few Germans 
I know who really went well to hounds. 

" Halloa, Trevor ! " he said, as we met. 
" What are you doing here ? " 

" Marking time," I answered. " Waiting 
for my boat." 

We strolled to the bar, and over a cocktail 
he suggested that if I had nothing better to 
do I might as well come to some official ball 
that was on that evening. " I can get you 
a card," he remarked. " You ought to 
come ; your friend Mrs. Bathurst — Comtesse 
de Grecin that was — is going to be present." 

" I'd no idea she was this side of the 
water," I said, surprised. 

" Oh, yes. Come over to see her people, 
or something. Well, will you come ? " 

I agreed, having nothing else on, and as 
he left the hotel he laughed. " Funny, the 
vagaries of Fate. I don't suppose I come 
into this hotel once in three months. I only 
came down this evening to tell a man not 
to come and call as arranged, as my kid has 
got measles — and promptly ran into you." 

Truly the irony of circumstances ! If one 



went back far enough, one might find that 
the determining factor of my disgrace was 
the quarrel of a nurse and her lover which 
made her take the child another walk than 
usual, and pick up infection. Dash it all ! 
you might even find that it was a spot on 
her nose that made her do so, as she didn't 
want to meet him when not looking at her 
best ! But that way madness lies. 

Whatever the original cause, I went ; and 
in due course met the Comtesse. She gave 
me a couple of dances ; and I found that 
she, too, had booked her passage on the 
Astoria. I met very few people I knew, and, 
having found it the usual boring stunt, I 
decided to get a glass of champagne and a 
sandwich and then retire to bed. I took - 
them along to a small alcove where I could 
smoke a cigarette in peace, and sat down. 
It was as I sat down that I heard from 
behind a curtain which completely screened 
me from view the words " English Army " 
spoken in German. And the voice was the 
voice of the Comtesse. 

Nothing very strange in the words, you 
say, seeing that she spoke German, as well 
as several other languages, fluently. Perhaps 
not ; but you know what my ideas used to 
be — how I was obsessed with the spy theory ; 
at any rate, I listened. I listened for a 
quarter of an hour, and then I got my coat 
and went home ; went home to try and see 
a way through just about the toughest 
proposition I'd ever been up against. For 
the Comtesse — Ginger Bathurst's idolized wife 
— was hand-in-glove with the German Secret 
Service. She was a spy — not of the wireless 
installation up the chimney type, not of the 
document-stealing type, but of a very much 
more dangerous type than either — the type 
it is almost impossible to incriminate. 

I can't remember the conversation I over- 
heard exactly ; I cannot give it to you 
word for word ; but I will give you the 
substance of it. Her companion was Von 
Basel's chief, a typical Prussian officer of the 
most overbearing description. 

" How goes it with you, Comtesse ? " he 
asked her, and I heard the scrape of a match 
as he lit a cigarette. 

" Well, Baron ; very well." 

" They do not suspect ? " 

" Not an atom. The question has never 
been raised even as to my national sym- 
pathies except once ; and then the suggestion 
— not forced or emphasized in any way — 
that, as the child of a family who had lost 
everything in the '76 war, my sympathies were 
not hard to discover was quite sufficient. 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



SPUD TREVOR OF THE RED HUSSARS. 



.271 



That was recently, at the time of the Agadir 
crisis. 

" And you do not desire revanche ? " 

" My dear man, I desire money. My 
husband with his pay and private income has 
hardly enough to dress me on." 

" But, dear lady, why, if I may ask, did 
you marry him ? With so many others for 
her choice, surely the Comtesse de Grecin 
could have commanded the world ? " 

" Charming as a phrase, but I assure you 
that the idea of the world at one's feet is as 
extinct as the dodo. No, Baron ; you may 
take it from me he was the best I could do. 
A rising junior soldier, employed on a staff 
job at the War Office, persona grata with all 
the people who really count in London by 
reason of his family, and, moreover, infatuated 
with his charming wife." Her companion 
gave a guttural chuckle; I could feel him 
leering. " I give the best dinners in London ; 
the majority of his senior officers think I 
am on the verge of running away with them, 
and when they become too obstreperous I 
allow them to kiss my — fingers. 

" Listen to me, Baron/' she spoke rapidly, 
in a low voice, so that I could hardly catch 
what she said. " I have already given 
information" about some confidential big 
howitzer trials which I saw ; it was largely 
on my reports that action was stopped at 
Agadir ; and there are many other things — 
things intangible in a certain sense — points 
of view, the state of feeling in Ireland, the 
conditions of labour, which I am able to hear 
the inner side of in a way quite impossible 
if I had not the entrie into that particular 
class of English society which I now possess. 
Not the so-called smart set, you understand, 
but the real ruling set — the leading soldiers, 
the leading diplomats. Of course, they are 
discreet " 

" But you are a woman, and a peerless one, 
dure Comtesse. I think we may leave that 
cursed country in your hands with perfect 
safety. And sooner perhaps than even we 
realize we may see der Tag'' 

Such, then, was briefly the conversation 
I overheard. As I said, it is not given word 
for word — but that is immaterial. What was 
I to do ? That was the point which drummed 
through my head as I walked back to my 
hotel; that was the point which was still 
drumming through my head as the dawn 
came stealing in through my window. Put 
yourself in my place, old man. What would 
you have done ? 

I, alone of everyone who knew her in 
London, had stumbled by accident on the 



truth. Bathurst idolized her, and she exag- 
gerated no whit when she boasted that she 
had the enlrie to the most exclusive circle 
in England. I know ; I was one of it myself. 
And though one realizes that it is only in plays 
and novels that Cabinet Ministers wander 
about whispering State secrets into the ears 
of beautiful adventuresses, yet one also knows 
in real life how devilish dangerous a really 
pretty and fascinating woman can be — 
especially when she's bent on finding things 
out and is clever enough to put two and two 
together. 

Take one thing alone, and it was an aspect 
of the case that particularly struck me. 
Supposing diplomatic relations became 
strained between us and Germany — and I 
firmly believed, as you know, that sooner or 
later they would ; supposing mobilization 
was ordered — a secret one ; suppose any of 
the hundred and one things which would be 
bound to form a prelude to a European war — 
and which at all costs must be kept secret — 
had occurred ; think of the incalculable 
danger a clever woman in her position might 
have been, however discreet her husband was. 
And, my dear old boy, you know Ginger ! 

Supposing the Expeditionary Force were on 
the point of embarkation. A wife might 
guess their port of departure and arrival by 
an artless question or two as to where her 
husband on the staff had motored to that day. 
But why go on ? You see what I mean. 
Only to me at that time — and now I might 
almost say that I am glad events have justified 
me — it appealed even more than it would have, 
say, to you. For I was so convinced of the 
dagger that threatened us. 

But what was I to do ? It was only my 
word against hers. Tell Ginger ? The idea 
made even me laugh. , Tell the generals and 
the diplomatists ? They didn't want to kiss 
my hand. Tell some big bug in the Secret 
Service ? Yes — that, anyway ; but she was 
such a devilish clever woman that I had but 
little faith in such a simple remedy, especially 
as most of them patronized her dinners 
themselves. 

Still, that was the only thing to be done ; 
that, and to keep a look-out myself, for I was 
tolerably certain she did not suspect me. 
Why should she ? 

And so, in due course, I found myself 
sitting next her at dinner as the Astoria 
started her journey across the water. 

I am coming to the climax of the drama, old 
man ; I shall not bore you much longer. But 
before I actually give you the details of what 



212 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 




LISTEN TO ME, BARON/ SHE SPOKE RAPIDLY, IN A LOW VOICE. ' J HAVE ALREADY 



occurred on that ill-fated vessel's last trip I decided on. Firstly > I was convinced that 
want to make sure that you realize the state my dinner partner— the wife of one of my 
of mind I was in and the action that I had besit|M|frJOT!^ spy* 



SPUD TREVOR OF THE RED HUSSARS. 



*73 




GIVEN INFORMATION ABOUT SOME CONFIDENTIAL BIG HOWITZER TRIALS WHICH I SAW, 



That the evidence would not have hung a fly 
in the court of law was not the point ; the 
evidence was my own hearing, which was 



good enough for me. Secondly, I was con- 
vinced that she occupied a position in society 
which -fflfHgrfy WlfftjtSftft' 8* ^W 



«74 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



of the most invaluable m information in the 
event of a war between us and Germany. 

Thirdly, I was convinced that there would 
be a war between us and Germany. 

So much for my state of mind. Now for 
my course of action. 

I had decided to keep a watch on her, and, 
if I could get hold of the slightest incriminating 
evidence, expose her secretly but mercilessly 
to the Secret Service. If I could not, and 
if I realized there was danger brewing, to 
inform the Secret Service of what I had 
heard, and — sacrificing Ginger's friendship if 
necessary, and my own reputation for 
chivalry — swear away her honour, or any- 
thing, provided only her capacity for obtaining 
information temporarily ceased. Once that 
was done, then face the music, and be 
accused, if needs be, of false swearing, 
unrequited love, jealousy — what you will. 
But to destroy her capacity for harm to my 
country was my bounden duty, whatever 
the social or personal results to me. 

And there was one other thing, and on 
this one thing the whole course of the matter 
was destined to hang : / alone could dv it, 
for I alone knew the truth. Let that sink in, 
old son ; grasp it, realize it, and read my 
future actions by the light of that one simple 
fact. 

I can see you sit back in your chair and 
look into the fire with the light of compre- 
hension dawning in your eyes ; it does put 
the matter in a different complexion, doesn't 
it, my friend ? You begin to appreciate the 
motives that impelled me to sacrifice a 
woman's life. So far so good. You are 
even magnanimous. What is one woman 
compared to the danger of a nation ? 

Dear old boy, I drink a silent toast to you. 
Have you no suspicions ? What if the 
woman I sacrificed was not innocent ? What 
it she was the Comtesse herself ? Does it 
surprise you ? Wasn't it the God-sent 
solution to everything ? 

Just as a freak of Fate had acquainted 
me with her secret, so did a freak of Fate 
throw me in her path at the end. . . . 

We hit an iceberg, as you may remember, 
in the middle of the night, and the ship 
foundered in under twenty minutes. 

You can imagine the scene of chaos 
after we struck — or, rather, . you can't ! 
Men were running wildly about shouting ; 
women were screaming ; and the roar of 
the siren bellowing forth into the night drove 
people to a perfect frenzy. Then all the lights 
went out, and darkness settled down like a pall 
on the ship. I struggled up on deck, which 



was already tilting up at a perilous angle, 
and there, in the mass of scurrying figures, 
I came face to face with the Comtesse. In 
the panic of the moment I had forgotten all 
about her. She was quite calm, and smiled 
at me, for of course our relations were still 
as before. 

Suddenly there came the shout from 
close at hand, " Room for one more only ! " 
What happened then happened in a couple 
of seconds ; it will take me longer to describe. 

There flashed into my mind what would 
occur if I were drowned and the Comtesse 
were saved. There would be no * one to 
combat her activities in England, she would 
have a free hand. My plans were null and 
void if I died. I must get back to England 
— or England would be in peril. I must 
pass on my information to someone — for I 
alone knew. 

" Hurry up — one more ! " Another shout 
from near by; and, looking round, I saw 
that we were alone. It was she or I. 

She moved towards the boat, and as she 
did so I saw the only possible solution — I 
saw what I then thought to be my duty ; 
what I still consider — and, God knows, 
that scene is never long out of my mind — 
what I still consider to have been my duty. 
I took her by the arm and twisted her facing 
me. 

" As Ginger's wife, yes," I muttered ; 
" as the cursed spy I know you to be, no — 
a thousand times no ! " 

" My God ! " she whispered. " My God ! " 

Without further thought I pushed by her 
and stepped into the boat, which was actually 
being lowered into the water. Two minutes 
later the Astoria sank, and she went down 
with her. . . . 

That is what occurred that night in mid- 
Atlantic. I make no excuses, I offer no 
palliation ; I merely state facts. 

Only had I not heard what I did hear in 
that alcove she would have been just — 
Ginger's wife. Would the Expeditionary 
Force have crossed so successfully, I wonder ? 

As I say, I did what I still consider to have 
been my duty. If both could have been 
saved, well and good ; but if it was only 
one, it had to be me, or neither. That's the 
rub— should it have been neither ? 

Many times since then, old friend, has the 
white, twitching face of that woman haunted 
me in my dreams and in my waking hours. 
Many times since then have I thought that 
— spy or no spy — I had no right to save my 
life at her expense — I should have gone down 
with her. Quixotical, perhaps, seeing she 

"IVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



SPUD TREVOR OF THE RED HUSSARS. 



275 



was what she was; but she was a woman. 
One thing, and one thing only, I can say. 
When you read these lines I shall be dead; 
they will come to you as a voice from the 
dead. And as a man who faces his Maker 
I tell you, with a calm certainty that I am 
not deceiving myself, that that night there 
was no trace of cowardice in my mind. It 
was not a desire to save my own life that 
actuated me, it was the fear of danger to 
England. An error of judgment possibly ; 
an act of cowardice — no. That much I 
state, and that much I demand that you 
believe. 

And now we come to the last chapter, the 

chapter that you know. I'd been back 

about two months when I first realized that 

there were stories going round about me. 

There were whispers in the club ; men 

avoided me, women cut me. Then came 

the dreadful night when a man, half -drunk, 

in the club accused me of cowardice point 

blank, and sneeringly contrasted my previous 

reputation with my conduct on the Astoria. 

And I realized that someone must have 

seen. I knocked that swine in the club 

down ; but the whispers grew, I knew it. 

Someone had seen, and it would be sheer 

hypocrisy on my part to pretend that such a 

thing didn't matter. It mattered everything ; 

it ended me. The world — our world — judges 

deeds, not motives, and even had I published 

at the time this document I am sending to 

you, our world would have found me guilty. 

They would have said what you would have 

said had you spoken the thoughts I saw in 

your eyes that night I came to you. They 

would have said that a sudden wave of 

cowardice had overwhelmed me, and that, 

brought face to face with death, I had saved 

my own life at the expense of a woman's. 

Many would have gone still farther, and said 

that my black cowardice was rendered blacker 

still by my hypocrisy in inventing such a 

story ; that first to kill the woman and then 

to blacken her reputation as an excuse showed 

me as a thing unfit to live. I know the 

world. 

Moreover, as far as I kn>ew then — I am 
sure of it now — whoever it was who saw my 
action did not see who the woman was, and 
therefore the publication of this document 
at that time would Have involved Ginger, 
for it would have been futile to publish it 
without names. Feeling, as I did, that 
perhaps I should have sunk with her ; feeling, 
as I did, that— for good or evil — I had 

Digiiiz^j by OOOglC 



blasted Ginger's life, I simply couldn't do 
it. You didn't believe in me, old chap ; at 
the bottom of their hearts all my old pals 
thought I'd shown the yellow streak ; and I 
couldn't stick it. So I went to the colonel 
and told him I was handing in my papers. 
He was in his quarters, I remember, and 
started filling his pipe as I was speaking. 

"Why, Spud?" he asked, when I told 
him my intention. 

And then I told him something of what I 
have written to you. I said it to him in 
confidence ; and when I'd finished he sat 
very silent. 

" Good God ! " he muttered, at length. 
" Ginger's wife ! " 

" You believe me, colonel ? " I asked. 

" Spud," he said, putting his hands on 
my shoulders, " that's a rotten thing to 
ask me — after fifteen years. But — it's the 
regiment." And he fell to staring at the 
fire. 

Aye, that was it ! It was the regiment 
that mattered. For better or for worse, I 
had done what I had done, and it was my 
show. The Red Hussars must not be made 
to suffer ; and their reputation would have 
suffered through me. Otherwise, I'd have 
faced it out. As it was — I had to go ; 
I knew it. I'd come to the same decision 
myself. 

Only now, sitting here in camp with the 
setting sun glinting through the windows of 
the hut, just a Canadian private under an 
assumed name, things are a little different. 
The regiment is safe ; I must think now of 
the old name. The colonel was killed at 
Cambrai, therefore you alone will be in 
possession of the facts. Ginger, if he reads 
these words, will perhaps forgive me for the 
pain I have inflicted on him ; let him remem- 
ber that though I did a dreadful thing to 
him — a thing which, up to now, he has been 
ignorant of — yet I suffered much for his sake 
after. During my life it was one thing ; 
when I am dead his claims must give way 
to a greater one — my name. 

Wherefore, I, Patrick Court enay Trevor, 
having the unalterable intention of meeting 
my Maker during the present war, and 
therefore feeling, in a measure, that I am, 
even as I write, standing at the threshold of 
His Presence, do swear before Almighty 
God that what I have written is the truth, 
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. 
So help me, God. 



The fall-in is goarg,, oM man. Good-bve. 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 




MY SONGS, 
PARTS, AND 
AMBITIONS. 



3i> 



ETHEL 



Fhgtu. tiniuN 




\FEKING night! You re- 
member it, of course ? The 
crowds that surged through 
the streets 1 The flag- 
wagging, fireworks, and illu- 
minations ! The shouts and 
cheers of the thousands intoxi- 
cated with mad enthusiasm for Sir Robert 
Baden-Powell, who had so magnificently 
defended the tiny town with his small 
garrison ! 

Clubs and restaurants were packed. 
Theatres and music-halls were " House Fulh" 
Boisterous, rollicking crowds shouted for their 
favourite artistes. Nervously and anxiously 
I listened to the audience as I stood in the 
flies at the Tivoli Music-hall on that night of 
May 1 8th , 1900, 

It was the night of my dfbut on this side 
of the Atlantic, For " one night only/* the 
late Mr. Adney Payne, one of the kindest of 
men, had given me an engagement to see 
"how I went," And this was the night of 
the momentous trial. Not that I had any 
doubts or lack of confidence regarding my 



LEVEY. 



own powers, if I may say so 
without undue egotism, I had 
had too much experience on the 
" other side " to feel nervous on 
that score, although, for a reason 
I will explain later, I had, up to 
that time, met with very little 
encouragement from managers 
in London when searching for an 
engagement. But I must can- 
didly confess that I was scared 
when I noticed the list of artistes on the bill. 
Marie Lloyd, Vesta Tilley, Vesta Victoria, 
George Robey, Harry Randall, Little Tich, 
R, G. Knowles— what a list I 

The audience positively shrieked for them, 
while poor little me, quite unknown, stood 
awaiting their verdict. No wonder I shivered. 
And just when I seemed to be losing the last 
shred of courage I possessed, someone smacked 
me on the back and said, cheerily : — 

" All right, girlie [ Keep your pecker 
up!" 

I turned round, and there was Marie 
Lloyd's laughing face and twinkling eyes. 
It was just the tonic I needed, and it was 
characteristic of the good-humoured gene- 
rosity of the cleverest of female vaudeville 
artistes that, noticing how doleful and 
nervous I was, she should thus endeavour to 
cheer me up* 

My number went up, and I walked on to 
the stage. There was a discouraging silence 
as I began to sing a song on the lines of 
" Mv Dutr Little Girlie, Girlie," which, by 

the iM¥tMf6rafei^rr g ' but which 



MY SONGS, PARTS, AND AMBITIONS. 



277 



I afterwards gave to Mr. R. G. Knowles, 
who numbers it among his best ''hits." 

I could not grip the audience, however. 
They were inattentive, and any artiste who 
has had that experience knows what a 
despairing feeling it causes. 

Candidly, the audience did not like the 
song, and I nearly got what the gallery calls 
" the bird." I finished as quickly as possible 
and began a burlesque of comic opera. 

It was the turning-point. The audience 
was silent for a minute or two, and then 
they began to laugh — moderately at first, the 
applause ultimately swelling into that whole- 
hearted approval which tells the artiste at 
once that she has struck the right note. 

At the end of the burlesque I was quite 
satisfied with my reception, and when Mr. 
Adney Payne rushed round to the dressing- 
room with a contract for twenty weeks at 
thirty-five pounds a week, I felt that I had 
— to quote the popular expression — " made 
good." 

London audiences and managers have 
since got to know me better, but never did 
applause sound so sweet as on Mafeking 
night. 

I have said that I did not receive much 
encouragement from London managers in 
those early days. The reason was this. I 
had plenty of offers to sing songs, but, with 
the perverseness of woman, I did not want 
to entertain the public in the manner in which 
managers judged they wished to be enter- 
tained. I wanted to entertain them in the 
way / thought they ought to be entertained. 
I wanted to show them what I could do as an 
actress in comedy and drama. But managers 
would have none of it. 

Visions of triumphs as Juliet and Ophelia 
floated through my mind. I idolized Mary 
Anderson, Sarah Bernhardt, Ellen Terry, 
and Eleonora Duse, whom I consider the 
greatest actress of her time. I aspired to 
vie with that wonderful actress, Miss Lily 
Brayton, as Katherina, in " The Taming of 
the Shrew." The role of Lady Macbeth, too, 
fascinated me, while I paid humble homage 
to the cleverness of George Bernard Shaw, 
and sighed for a chance to appear in some 
of his plays. As for Ibsen, I still want to 
try Nora in " A Doll's House." So you 
see my ambitions soar very high. 

" Ethel," said my friends, when I spoke 
of these visions, " you might just as well 
ask for the moon ! " 

Recently I met Mr. Charles Cochran, the 
popular manager of the Ambassadors and 
the Empire, who has managed everything in 



the theatrical entertaining and sporting line, 
from wrestlers, boxers; and performing 
animals, to spectacular plays .. like " The 
Miracle" and the most popular, up^to-date 
revues. I remember he had a little office in 
the Strand in those days. He was acting 
as my agent at the time, and obtained for 
me various introductions to managers, includ- 
ing the late Mr. Charles Morton of the Palace 
and Mr. Frank Glenister of the Pavilion. 
They were not, however, impressed with my 
trial " turns." 

Mr. Cochran recalled the days when we 
wandered from one manager to another in 
the hope of an engagement, and we laughed 
over my early dreams. He recalled the 
emphatic remark of one manager, who, when 
he heard of what I had been doing and 
what I wanted to do, said : — 

" My dear girl, you are mad — mad as a 
hatter ! Give us your songs, your dances, 
and your burlesque. But, for heaven's sake, 
for your own sake, for the sake of the public, 
and for the sake of the poor unfortunate 
manager, don't try to be serious ! " 

I took his advice, but in spite of the generous 
recognition which London audiences have 
accorded me in the various revues in which 
I have appeared since " Hullo, Ragtime ! " 
at the Hippodrome, I am still dissatisfied. 
I love revue work, I love singing, dancing, 
and burlesque. I feel that one is doing 
much — particularly in these days of dis- 
tressing trouble, if one can bring a little 
gaiety into the lives of the people. But I 
do want to see what I can do in serious plays. 
Maybe there will be a chance when the 
popularity of the revue is. on the wane (of 
which there certainly seems no danger at 
the present time). An actress cannot always 
exist on meringues and trifles. 

You may remember that in " Hullo, 
Tango ! " which followed " Hullo, Ragtime ! " 
at the London Hippodrome, I introduced a 
burlesque of the wicked Countess Ziska of 
" Diplomacy," in a fearful and wonderful 
mustard-yellow and emerald-green dress and 
decorations. It may seem conceited on my 
part to say so, but I really thought I made a 
success of that burlesque because I was more 
than usually interested in the character in 
the real play. As a matter of fact, I could 
have played in " Diplomacy " when it was 
revived at Wyndham's. But, quite apart 
from my existing contracts, I thought it a 
mistake to try to realize one's ambition in 
a piece in which so many famous artistes 
had already appeared. It seemed to me 
that t^VEFKrFY (fikMCtftGAM 1 ^' Bernard 



2:8 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 




Beere, and Miss 
Olga Nethersole 
had appeared in 
the part jit would 
be presumption 
for a beginner 
like myself to 
start in thaXroh. 
At the same 
time, it always 
seems to me a 
great pity that, 
when one has 
created, as it 
were, a certain 
type of work , the 
public won't let 
you do anything 




five — 



ETHEL LEVEY AT THE AGE 
OF THREE — 

else. It is a fact, particu- 
larly in regard to America, 
that when a woman learns 
to sing and kick her heels 
about and do light stuff 
like burlesque and revues, 
the public won*t let her do 
anything else. That is one 
of the reasons why I came 
to London, hoping to make 
a change in my work. 

At one time I wanted to 
go in for opera, and spent 
more money than I could 
really afford on my voice. Then, when it partly 
gave way, I took to dancing ; but I don't 
think I shall ever be really satisfied until I 
have an opportunity of seeing what I can 
do on the legitimate stage. 

In any case, there is no harm, is there, in 
building castles in the air ? I have been 
doing it for many years — in fact, ever since 
I was a little girl. I still stick to my 
favourite motto, however : " Do what there 
is to do to-day, and leave to-morrow to take 
care of itself." 

Woman-like, however, I am determined to 
have the last word in this matter of going on 
the legitimate stage* Women invariably do 
manage to get the last word, and I pay 
honest tribute to the lady with the deaf 
and dumb husband who, when he tried to 
explain matters during a tiff with finger 



fireworks, put out the light and thus main- 
tained the reputation of our sex for finality. 
I remember as a child, however, I always 
had great stage ambitions. Perhaps it was 
the air of 'Frisco, where I was born. It does 
have an extra ordinary and exhilarating 
effect on some people I It was certainly 
responsible for the u hustle " which my 
friends say will kill me one of these days. 
One of them describes me as the ** hundred 
horse-power worker." But work will never 
kill me. In case anything should happen, 
however, which makes it necessary to call 
for the coroner, tell him it was ambition, 
and not heart disease ! 

It was ambition that got me into trouble 
at school and led me, before I was seventeen, 
to run away from authority in the shape of 
teachers to go on the stage. 

It happened in this way. I 
was attending a boarding-school 
in 'Frisco at the time. One day 
I sang at a friend's house when 
Mr. Thomas Riley, who, curiously 
enough, is in London at the pre- 
sent time, managing " Hobson's 
Choice " at the Apollo, was 
present, Mr. Riley was then 
Charles Hoyte's manager. He 
complimented me, and told me 
I ought to go on the stage. My 
parents, however, had other 
views. A wilful girl, however, 
like a wilful man, must have her 
way. The consequence was that 
in spite of parental objections 
and warnings, I seized an oppor- 
tunity which presented itself, and 
made my dibui 
at the Columbia 
Theatre in 
Charles Hoyte's 
comedy, "A 
Milk White 
Flag/* 

It was rather 
a blow to my 
parents, for, 
although my 
mothercherished 
a hope that I 
might go into 
classic opera, she 
had a strong dis- 
1 i k e to the 
ordinary stage. 
Consequently, I 
came to be re- 

MICHISAN gar< " dSOnKWhat 




MY SONGS, PARTS, AND AMBITIONS. 



279 



as the bad girl of the family. 
However, a reconciliation 
took place, when I justified 
the belief in me which Mr, 
Riley had so kindly ex- 
pressed. 

By the way, mention of 
Mr, Riley reminds me that, 
twenty years ago, Mr. Gus k 
Sohlke, who has produced 
Mr, St oil's latest revue^, in 
which I appeared— 4 Look 
Who's There " at the Lon- 
don Opera House — appeared 
on the bill with me in my 
first variety engagement in 
Chicago. What a smell 
world it is ! 

1 remember that the sing- 
ing of my first song, £1 Go 
to Sleep, Ma Little Picca- 
ninny/ 1 contributed not a little to whatever 
success I achieved in "A Milk- White Flag/' 
You remember the song, perhaps ? It has 
been warbled by millions of mothers through- 
out the world to their little ones, and I always 
feel proud of the fact that I was the first to 
sing it on the stage. 

I have sung many popular songs since, 
notablv " Pride of the Prairie, Mary/' 
" Down in Jungle Town/' " Billy/' " Waltz 
Me Around Again, Willie/* and s< Rings on Her 
Fingers, Bells on her Toes !T ; while although 
the ragtime craze, with which I was first so 
prominently connected, is on the wane, the 
public have not yet forgotten H Alexander's 
Ragtime Band,'' " Hitchy-Koo/ 1 " Every- 
body's Doing It/* and u Waiting for the 
Robert E. Lee." 

It always struck me that one of the most 
striking tributes to the popularity of rag- 
time music was when, for the first lime in 
the history of England, it was played at the 
opening of Parliament three years ago. I 
well remember the enthusiasm which was 
aroused as the band of the Dragoon Guards 
marched down Whitehall to the tune of 
u Alexanders Ragtime Hand/' It set rverv 
head wagging to the strains of : — 
Oh, ma honey, oh, ma honey! 
Better hurry and let's meander. 

Far from pleasant, however, are my 
memories of another popular song which I 
used to sing entitled " Unrequited Love," 

" What is the use of loving a girl, if the 
girl don't love you?" was the theme of the 
song. For five years I was singing it, until 
one night a man, occupying a box in the 
theatre at which I was appearing, shot 



himself. * From the evidence 
afterwards revealed it ap- 
peared that he had resolved 
to commit suicide because 
the woman he wished to 
marry preferred somebody 
else. The newspapers were 
screaming with the tragedy 
for several days, and I got 
unenviable advertisement. 
Shortly afterwards, at a 




ACE SEVENTEEN*— A PORTRAIT TAKEN 

A YEAR OR TWO BEFORE HER FIRST 

APPEARANCE IN ENGLAND. 

Pressmen*s dinner in New York, when 
certain American journalists entertained a 
number of English confreres, the menu, 
which was in the form of miniature pages of 
the New York Times and the London Times, 
contained, by a curious coincidence, an 
extract of the report of the tragedy, and I 
was among the artistes engaged for the 
entertainment of the guests ! 

I have never sung the song since, and 
was painfully shocked when I heard that 
it had led to another tragedy in this country, 
the admirer of a well-known soubrette, who 
was singing the song at one of the halls here, 
shooting himself because of a hopeless 
infatuation. 

I am afraid I cannot tell you any harrowing 
stories of my early clays. Mr. Hoyte con- 
sidered I was worth thirty-five dollars (or 
seven pounds a week), and after remaining 
with his company for a season I had my 
first experience of New York at Webber and 
Field's music-hall on the Broadway, 

It was there lha.i: J first met my husband, 

Mr - ftwsfc#v6i i, fflPeHSffl tl y after our 



28o 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE, 



the theatre, and although I was not actually 
nervouSj I mast admit that I felt a curious 
sensation, difficult to describe, . when he 
entered the box. I dared not look at him T 
thinking it best to keep my eyes firmly fixed 
on the audience. And I afterwards heard 
that His Majesty laughingly told the manage- 
ment that it was the first time that he had 
>een treated with such marked inattention ! 




marriage we 
took out our 
own company, 
and played 
through the 
principal cities 
in the States. I 
not only played 
various parts in 
his many pro- 
ductions, but 
also helped to 
produce and 
design the 
dresses. 

Paris, h o w- 
ever,had always 
attracted mu , 
and receiving 
an offer from the 
managemen t 

of the Theatre Michel, I accepted it and 
played in a one-act drama by Guitry, with 
the famous tragedian De Max. At the 
conclusion of this engagement^ I appeared in 
a German revue in Vienna at the Apollo 
Theatre, and later in Berlin. I ultimately 
returned to Paris, and it was while singing 
at the Olympia Theatre that I first saw King 
Edward, who was then Prince of Wales. 
He came into the box while I was on the 
stage singing an American song with French 
words called " How Would You Like to be 
Me ? " I had heard that he was coming to 



IN "WATCH VOl'K STEP," 



UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



MY SONGS, PARTS, AND AMBITIONS. 



281 



Curiously enough, within three weeks of 
King Edward's visit to the Olympia, three 
other Kings — Leopold of Belgium, the late 
King of Portugal, and King Alfonso of Spain, 
all came to see the performance — not to 
mention the Sultan of Zanzibar. 

My first important London engagement 
was at the Alhambra under Mr. Alfred 
Moul's management, and after another visit 
to Paris and Vienna I ultimately settled 
down to revue work at the London Hippo- 
drome in " Hullo, Ragtime ! " " Hullo, 
Tango!" and "Watch Your Step!" at the 
Empire. 

I am afraid I have little to relate regarding 
my experiences in these revues, except to 
express my appreciation of the many 
kindnesses received at the hands of the 
managers and my gratitude to London 
audiences. 

There was one occasion, however, when I 
do not seem to have impressed my audience 
with what terpsichorean ability I possess. 
I happened, with half-a-dozen other well- 
known dancers, to be rehearsing for the All 
Fools' Ball at St. John's Wood. 

A gentleman Who was endeavouring to 
make, amongst other things, cotillon out of 
chaos, led me forward and showed me a few 
steps of a new dance. I immediately under- 
stood the idea and pleased him no end, so 
that after a time I was complimented. 

" Quite an apt little dancer," was his 
description of me, " and with a little training 
she might get on the stage." 

But I can sympathize with him, for there 
was an occasion when I certainly felt like 
an April fool myself. I was once awakened 
at dead of night by plaintive whines coming 
from my drawing-room, and then a number 
of notes were struck on the piano. 

I am not usually a " nervy-" person, but 
when, on bravely entering the room and 
turning up the lights, I saw no one there 
and heard not a sound, I began to feel 
shivery. Then, no sooner had I left the room 
and shut the door again, than there was a 
terrific din. 

With the exception of my maid, who had 
also been awakened by the unusual noise, I 
was alone in the house. Neither of us dared 
to enter the drawing-room again, so we both 
sat, pale and trembling with cold and — well, 
yes — with fright, until morning. We heard 
the discordant notes played on the piano 
about a dozen times at intervals. 

Daylight appearing, I walked into the 



Vol Hi.— 19. 



by Google 



drawing-room again, the maid following me 
with chattering teeth. Just as I reached 
the piano, a most frightful shriek came from 
its interior, and several of the notes were 
played with invisible hands. My 1 maid 
fainted on the spot. 

Determined to get to* the bottom of the 
mystery, I wrenched open the top of the 
piano and saw, what do yo u think ? A 
poor, half-starved little kitten ! 

Later on I heard that the mischievous 
little son of a visitor who had called the day 
before had put the kitten in the piano and 
shut the lid. 

May I add that I have just one other 
ambition — or, rather, weakness — shared by 
many other members of my sex— viz., to 
dress artistically. J shoul4 not be a woman 
if I did not possess this little feminine vanily, 
I set great value on good dress, and certainly 
consider it unjust that a woman should be 
characterized as extrayagant because she 
endeavours to look her best. The worst of 
it is that so many women make the mistake 
of being eccentric and immodest in their 
attempts to secure greater attraction. I 
fancy I can hear some readers exclaiming : — 

" Faocy Ethel Levey, an actress who has 
worn more extraordinary gowns on the stage 
than any other woman in London, writirg 
like that about fashions and dressing 1 " 

Quite so, " on the stage." But you must 
remember that dressing for the stage is an 
altogether different matter from dressing for 
the street, drawing-room, or the restaurant f 
Everything is accentuated on the stage. 

To my mind Englishwomen have made 
enormous progress in the art of dressing 
themselves during the past few years. When 
I came over from the States fluffy hair, big 
hats, and very inartistic frocks were all the 
rage. The spirit of originality seemed to be 
dead. In those days anything out of the 
common was sufficient to cause a sensation, 
and I well remember how I was stared at 
in a London restaurant one day because I 
appeared in a costume which was not the 
fashion ! Now there are so many well- 
gowned women in London that astonish- 
ment is only manifested when a person goes 
beyond the limits of good taste. Yes, the 
Englishwomen have at last come into their 
kingdom as the best-dressed women in the 
world, and the only danger lies, as I have 
suggested, in the tendency, here and there, to 
slavishly follow ideas which are not for the 
betterment of art in dressing* 

Original from 
UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



The House at Bath. 

, By ROLAND PERTWEE. 

Illustrated by E. S. Hodgson. 




HERE was a letter lying on 
Lord Louis Lewis's breakfast- 
table, written in a thin, 
straggling hand which wavered 
up and down as though the 
writer had been sore put to 
it to hold the pen. The 
writing was unfamiliar, and Lord Louis, as he 
broke the seal, wondered mildly who was his 
correspondent. The letter ran : — 

Dear Louis, — / do not expect that you will 
remember me, as we have only met once, and you, 
at the time, were five years old. Possibly you 
heard your mother mention her Cousin Mary, 
although it is equally possible she did nothing 
of the kind ; for I md&e no attempt to keep in 
with the family, whom I found both tiresome 
and snobbish and, on the rare occasions when 
they called on me, significantly disposed to be 
sycophantic. 

I should not be writing now were it not that 
I am about to die, and when dead will be unable 
to conduct my own affairs. 

It appears, from what I have heard, you are 
a moderately honest man, and sufficiently well 
off to be proof against covetousness. Accord- 
ingly, I have decided to make you my executor. 

Unless you decide to ignore this letter, you 
will visit me and hear my wishes some day 
before Tuesday next. If you delay until after 
that date you may stop away altogether, as I 
shall certainly expire during the small hours of 
Wednesday morning, — Yours truly, Mary 
Elizabeth Bryany. 

Lord Louis read the letter twfce. It bore 
an address in Bath. Vaguely he recalled a 
day, in early infancy, when his grandmother, 
with whom he was spending Easter, dressed 
him up in a suit of brown velveteen and a 
Toby collar and carried him off to visit a 
distant relative. He remembered how they 
drove there in a high Stanhope and had 
spent, for him, a torturing hour, unrelieved 
by cake or candy, in company with Cousin 
Mary. At the time she struck him as a per- 
son of advanced years, who sat bolt upright 
in a high-back chair and spoke in a voice of 
that hard quality which children fear and 
abhor. 



Cousin Mary had ever stood aloof from the 
members of her family, obsessed by the belief 
that one and all coveted her very meagre 
worldly possessions. She never lost an oppor- 
tunity of impressing on them her intention 
that no one should profit by her demise. The 
constant recurrence of this subject of con- 
versation had by degrees driven off the last 
of her relatives, vowing that never again 
would they be cajoled into calling on her. 

Lord Louis rose to his feet and touched the 
bell. 

" I am going to Bath, Badger," he said to 
the butler who answered his ring. " Arrange 
for the limousine to be at the door jn twenty 
minutes/' 

It was noon when the big car drew up before 
a tall and depressing-looking house in one 
of those old-world crescents so prolific in 
the city of Bath. 

Lord Louis mounted the steps and knocked 
gently, and a moment later the door was 
opened by a little middle-aged woman, — 
dressed in a gown of rusty glaci silk, whose W 
hair was drawn in a tight knot at the back, p 

" Are you Lord Louis Lewis ? " she in- 
quired, with the nervous inflection of one 
unaccustomed to the use of titles. He 
bowed, and she added, " My name is Lavinia 
Brooker. Miss Bryany's companion. Will 
you step inside ? — it's this way." 

Lord Louis followed the frail little figure 
down a dark and dingy hall, to which clung 
the faint odours of the Regency period. 

Lavinia opened a door and admitted him to 
a dimly-lit room with half-drawn blinds. 

From a corner in the shadows came a voice. 

" Hey ! Come, have you ? Go awavj 
Brooker, don't want you." The voice sounded 
like dry twigs breaking. 

Confronting Lord Louis, in the same -high- 
back chair which impressed itself on his 
infant memory, sat a very old lady. Her 
face, deeply seamed and furrowed, was set in 
an expression of permanent disapproval. 
Her thin, blue- veined hands rested twitchingly 
on her lap. On her head was a lace cap and a 
shawl of the same was about her shoulders 
and fell in folds over the heavy black brocade 

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of her dress. She was quite immobile save 
only for her eyes, which darted hither and 
thither like the tongue of a snake. 
-Suspended to the wall, behind where she 
sat, was an ivory figure of Christ upon a 
cross of ebony. 

After the darting eyes had looked him up 
and down many times, she spoke. 

" You didn't lose much time in coming." 

"I came at once/' he replied; " judging 
by your letter you had need of me." 

" Yes. I shall die the day after to-morrow. 
Sit down — sit down ! You get on my nerves 
standing there." He took a chair in silence. 
" I have no money to leave," she crackled, 
observing how readily he obeyed her order, 
" so you needn't be polite in any false hope of 
gain." 

Lord Louis was justly nettled. " It is 
natural to some of us to be polite, Cousin 
Mary," he said, " as it is natural to others to 
be the reverse." 

Miss Bryany chuckled. " Good — good ! " 
she said. " Now listen to me. I have an 
annuity of two hundred a year which will 
end with me on Tuesday night." 

Lord Louis interrupted to ask what made 
her so sure ol dying at that exact time. 

" I ought to know," she returned. " I 
leave this room every evening at nine o'clock, 
and each night the effort of getting to bed 
nearly kills me.- My strength is running 
out, and I know just how long it will last. 
Therefore I say with certainty I shall die on 
Tuesday night. Beyond the annuity I have 
nothing, except this house and what it 
contains. After my funeral everything is to 
be sold. The undertaker is to be paid out 
of the money realized. A twelve-pound-ten 
funeral. Whatever money remains is to be 
spent in erecting a monument over my grave. 
If the sale is properly managed there ought 
to be nearly three thousand pounds." 

" Cousin Mary," said Lord Louis, " twelve 
pounds ten is a very small price for a funeral, 
whereas three thousand is a great deal to 
spend on monumental masonry. The division 
appears unequal." 

" Intentionally," replied Miss Bryany. 
" My relatives won't be able to see an expen- 
sive coffin, but the monument would exist 
as a lasting source of irritation to them." 

Lord Louis resisted the temptation to 
criticize adversely this uncharitable resolve, 
and merely asked if there was any particular 
style of architecture she desired to have 
followed. 

Miss Bryany shook her head. " You can 
put a public-house over my grave, so long 



as the money is spent," she retorted; then, 
seeing his expression of disapproval, added, 
" You ^re thinking it is a pity I don't leave 
it to you, eh ? " 

" My dear cousin," he replied, " I fear you 
have been denied a clear vision of my mental 
processes. Rest assured I in no way covet 
your property, having more than sufficient 
means of my own. On the other hand, I 
consider your intentions do you small credit." 

Miss Bryany tucked up the corners of her 
nose and emitted some sounds which might 
have been intended for laughter. 

" I like you, Louis," she said. " You are 
the first person who ever dared to stand up 
to me. The rest, when they came, which was 
seldom enough, thank the Lord, were too 
civil for my taste. Because they hoped my 
bits and sticks might come their way they 
lacked the pluck to speak up and say what 
they really thought of me. The fools ! 
They might have profited if they had. I 
hate cowards and sycophants ,! You are not 
a coward, Louis, and I've a mind to make you 
my sole legatee." 

" I trust you will do no such thing," he 
answered. " I have no possible claim to your 
bounty, whereas there are others who have." 

" What others ? " 

" Your companion, Miss Brooker, for 
instance." 

" Ta ! Not a penny. She's the worst of 
the lot. One of the patient kind. Hasn't 
the spirit of a mouse. Been with me forty 
years and never flared up once. Puts up 
with anything. Besides, she's a Roman — 
can't endure Romans. I'll show you the 
sort she is." So saying Miss Bryany took a 
small hand-bell and rang it imperatively. 

The door opened and Lavinia Brooker 
entered noiselessly. 

" Yes, Miss Bryany ? " she said. 

"Brooker!" came from the old lady* 
" You are a fool, aren't you ? " 

Lavinia flashed, ever so slightly. " You 
have often said so," she replied. 

"Then you say it, for a change. Say to 
Lord Louis here — say, ' Lord Louis, I'm a 
poor, mean-spirited fool.' " 

The flush spread over Lavinia's features, 
nevertheless she opened her lips and would 
have obeyed had not Lord Louis interposed. 

" Cousin Mary," he said, " your sense of 
humour and mine do not run on parallel 
lines. You put me in mind of a small boy 
crushing flies against the window-pane foi 
sport." 

Lavinia gasped^ ^ |Iffa?U the forty years of 
their fflflgj^gp fhftlfiOT heard MisS 



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'" ' MV 
COVET 



DEAR COCSIN, HE REPLIED, * REST ASSURED I IN NOWAY 
YOUR PROPERTY, IF A VINO MOKE THAN SUFFICIENT M^ANS 

Diailized b OF MY OWN * n C 



Bryany addressed with such 
absolute candour. But to her 
amazement Miss Bryany only 
chuckled. 

" A poor simile, Louis/' she 
said, " for the small boy is 
protected by his strength? J 

a Whereas you are pro- 
tected by your weakness/* he 
replied, incisively. 

Miss Bryany frowned a 
little. " You can go, Brooker/* 
she said. " But wait outside, 
I shall want you to show 
Lord Louis round the house 
presently." 

b( And to think/ 1 said Lord 
Lou is j when the door had 
closed, "the poor little thing 
has endured such treatment 
for forty years. Truly, some 
women are angels. Cousin 
Mary, if you were to leave ten 
times the value of your estate 
to Lavinia Brooker you would 
not have discharged a farthing 
in the. pound of your debt lo 
her/' 

But Miss Bryany only 
chuckled and diverted the 
topic. 

There's an inventory on 
that table/' she said. * You 
are an expert on valuations, 
aren't you ? " 

" I can form a fair judg- 
ment on works of artistic 
merit/' he replied. 

" Then go round with 
Brooker and come and tell 
me what you put the value 
of the property at," 

Lord Louis made a careful 
examination of all the house 
contained, jotting down his 
own valuations against the 
details in the inventory. He 
was astonished to find his 
Cousin Mary had considerably 
under - estimated her posses- 
sions, which he assessed at 
nearer six than three thousand 
pounds. 

The greater portion of the 
examination was conducted 
in silence, but more than 
once he had occasion to 
comment on the very exact 
knowledge of the numbers and 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHftjAN 



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285 



c iasslfkation shown by Lavinia 
Hrooker of the' objects he was 
inspecting. 

Lavinia gave a wan smile. " I 
ought to know/' she said. " We 
have a different - day for each 
room, and once a week I have 
to bring down all the plate and 
china and count it over before 
Miss Bryany/' Lord Louis's eye- 
brows inquired why. " She isn't 
strong enough to look them over 
herself and climb stairs/ 5 she 
explained, " and she says it keeps 
a hold on me. She thinks I might 
take something otherwise/' 

41 Miss Brooker/' said Lord 
Louis, ** why do you put up with 
it ? " 

H She pays me fifteen pounds 
a year/ 1 came the answer. 

Lord Louis stroked his nose 
reflectively, u What are your 
intentions when Miss Bryany has 
gone ? " 

Lavinia shook her head, " I 
just don't know, Lord Louis/' she 
answered. "lam too old to get 
another place, I expect." 

" Shall you have any private 
means of support ? ** 

Again she replied, " I don't 
know." But her eyes asked him 
a mute question, 

"X am afraid," saidhe., in answer 
to that silent appeal, 4t it is not 
Miss Bryany's intention to include 
any personal bequests in her will." 

As they were returning to the 
room where Miss Bryany awaited 
thum Lavinia, who several times 
had opened her lips as though to 
speak., suddenly took the courage 
to askj l£ Lord Louis, did you 
notice a crucifix on the wall in 
there ? " 

" Yes, An ivory crucifix/ 1 

" I want to buy it for myself. 
I'm a Catholic, you know. It's a 
beautiful crucifix. For forty years 
I've said my prayers to it. Do 
you think it would fetch a great 
deal at the sale ? I could spend 
six pounds five shillings, if neces- 
sary,'* The speech escaped from 
her in short, disjointed sen- 
tences, punctuated by nervous 
gasps. Lord Louis guessed, and 
guessed rightly, the six pounds 




I LIKE VOU, I.OL'IS,' SHE SAID, 4 YOU A ftK THE FIRST 
PERSON WHO EVER »A Hig^j C|i<p| sWhHTP P TO ME.*'* 

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286 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



and odd shillings she was willing to pay 
represented all her worldly goods. The 
savings of forty years at fifteen pounds a 
year. His heart warmed towards her. 

" I will examine it carefully," he said. 
" In the meantime, will you be so good as to 
cast up the figures I have written against 
the details of the inventory and let me have 
the total." 

Miss Bryany received the news that her 
property would realize double v/hat she 
imagined without enthusiasm. 

Lord Louis turned his attention to the cruci- 
fix. The figure of Christ was exquisitely 
carved in ivory — the modelling of the torso 
being some of the most remarkable he had ever 
encountered. On the head was a crown of 
thorns, fashioned in Chinese jade, and the 
cloth about the loins was stained a deep and 
ruddy brown, as also was the hair. Silver 
nails pierced the hands and feet, and where 
they punctured the skin tiny cabochon 
rubies were inset, glistening like drops of 
blood on dead-white flesh. 

Instinctively he realized that here was a 
work of art far above the ordinary. 

Miss Bryany's voice cut in upon his 
reflections. 

" What do you think of it, Louis/' she 
demanded. 

" I think," he replied, " it would be an 
act of grace if you presented this crucifix 
to your little companion." 

" Hum 1 " snapped Miss Bryany. " I shall 
do nothing of the kind. It 'ud be encouraging 
Romanism — and I hate Romans." 

Lord Louis drew on his gloves. " I shall 
bid you good-bye," said he. " I have some 
arrangements to make at home. But I will 
return to-morrow and take up my quarters 
at the Mitre Hotel, in case there is anything 
you wish to discuss with me." 

Lavinia Brooker spoke to him at the front 
door. 

" Shall I be able to buy it for six pounds 
five shillings ? " she asked. 

" I am afraid/' said he, " the crucifix is 
worth far more than that. It will probably 
fetch some hundreds at the sale." 

Lavinia made no reply, but two large tears 
welled over her lower lids. 

Lord Louis shook hands feelingly, and 
bade her farewell ; while from the inner room 
came the insistent note of Miss Bryany's bell. 

Lord Louis returned to Bristol and made 
arrangements to be away for a few days. On 
the following afternoon he drove back to 
Bath and ensconced himself at the Mitre 
Hotel. Before dining he paid a short visit 



to Miss Bryany, whom he § found very un- 
communicative. He detected a growing 
weakness in her bearing. 

As he walked back to his hotel Lord Louis 
confessed to himself that she was probably 
right, and Wednesday morning would dawn 
on one soul the less. 

At nine o'clock the same evening the 
following scene was enacted. Miss Bryany 
looked at the clock, then fired off the two 
words, " Bed, Brooker ! " 

Lavinia laid aside her crochet and there 
ensued the frightfully complicated proceeding 
of putting Miss Bryany to bed. At last it 
was over : the sheet tucked under the old 
lady's chin, the nightlight lighted, and the 
gas lowered. Then, from the bed, came the 
sound of Miss Bryany's voice, and very 
jerky it was. 

41 Needn't look so glum, Brooker. Only 
have to do it once more." 

"Oh, Miss Bryany ! " said Lavinia. u You 
know I wasn't thinking of that." 

11 What were you thinking, then ? " Lavinia 
hesitated. '' Come on ! " 

4i Miss Bryany — I — you — Lord Louis told 
me what you intended doing with your things 
— and I've been wondering — I was going to 

ask whether " She moistened her lips, 

" That crucifix — I would like to have bought 
it. Would you let me ? I dd so want it. 
If you would let me buy it now — before the 
sale, I mean. Upstairs in my box 1 have 
six pounds and a few shillings — I'd give it 
to you at once. It isn't very much, I know — 
and I'm sure the crucifix is worth more — but 
I thought perhaps you wouldn't mind that, 
seeing it was me," 

" Seeing that it's you, eh, Brooker ? That's 
good ! Never did trust you, did I ? I'm 
not going to begin now. Suppose you thought 
this a fine chance to get something on the 
cheap?" 

" I am sorry," said Lavinia. " I offered 
you all I had. Good night, Miss Bryany." 

" Shut the door. I've not done with you 
yet.- Look here ! did you do as I told you 
and take a room near-by to go to directly 
I have gone ? " 

" I took a little room in Chadwick Street." 

" Then vou can go there to-night." 

" To-night ? " 

" Yes, I don't fancy having you prowling 
about among my things while I'm in no state 
to keep an eye on you." 

" But, Miss Bryany " 

" You can come back in the morning. 
There are a couple of shillings in my purse 
yonder to pay for your bed and breakfast." 



>naer to pay lor your Dea ar 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



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287 




WHAT HAVE YOLT GOT IN THAT PARCEL 



" Vou don't really mean me to go, Miss 
Bryany ? " 

" Get a nightdress and be off," 

" I can't leave you alone in the house. Oh, 
Miss Bryany, you know I'd never touch any- 
thing." 

" Not going to give you the chance. Get 
a nightdress and call in here for the florin 
before you go." 

So strong is the habit ot obedience that 
almost without realizing what she was doing, 
Lavinia found herself in her little bedroom 
making a parcel of her nightdress, sponge- 
bag, brush and comb. 

Suddenly her eyes filled with tears— hot 
tears of resentment, and to herself she said, 
" It isn't fair." 

Then she rose, put on her hat and cape, 
and placing the parcel beneath her arm 
descended the stairs, In the hall she halted — 
threw a glance towards Miss Bryan y's door — 
then stole away to the back room and went 
down on her knees before the crucifix. 

Five minutes later she was in Miss Bryony's 
room taking the florin from the purse on the 
dressing-table. 

" What were you doing in the parlour ? " 
demanded Miss Bryony. 

" Saying my prayers/ 7 answered Lavinia* 

A silence, then : "What have you got in 
that parcel ? M 

" My nightdress, a sponge-bag, and my 
brush and comb," 



" Looks a big parcel. Sure there isn't 
anything else, Brooker ? " 

" I have told you there isn't" said Lavinia. 

11 Open that parcel, Brooker," 

The comers of Lavinia 's mouth began to 
work. 

" I shaVt open it — I won't open it/* 

"What d'ye say?" 

Then of a sudden the flood-gates of the little 
companion's wrath gave way, and forty 
years of accumulated grievances and repression 
surged through her thin and quivering lips* 
And Lavinia Brooker, slave and servitor, 
stood up and spoke her mind as a free woman 
and a brave, 

It was a long and bitter denunciation and 
finished with the words, " May your Master 
be kinder to you than you deserve/' So 
saying she snatched up her parcel, ran from 
the room, and the front door banged behind 
her. 

During the whole recital ^fiss Bryany had 
scarcely uttered a word. Once or twice, when 
for sheer lack of breath her accuser had 
stopped for a moment, she had interpolated 
lc Go it ! " ; and had Lavinia been less ob- 
sessed with her own rhetoric she might have 
observed the same dancing light in the old 
lady's eyes which had appeared when Lord 
Louis attacked her sense of humour the day 
before. 

After the Irblpil'i ddbi? idosed Miss Bryany 
^PPcfltM^Y 6 ^ pulled 



288 



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herself into a sitting posture. Arrived at 
which she laughed — actually laughed — and 
this time ther$ was no mistaking the sound. 
Then, inch by inch, she lowered her feet to 
the ground and reached out for the ebony 
stick which stood by the bedside. After 
several unsuccessful efforts she managed to 
rise and five minutes later had subsided in a 
chair before a writing-table on the other side 
of the room. 

Taking a pen and paper she wrote — very 
waveringly at first, but with gathering 
strength as she proceeded. When finished 
she read over what she had written. 
" And now," she said, " for a witness/' 
The lower half of her window was open and 
thither she made her way, taking the hand- 
bell from the bedside table en route. 

Lord Louis Lewis, having finished his 
dinner at the Mitre, was conscious of sensa- 
tions of dyspepsia. Previous experience had 
taught him the surest method of combating 
this ailment was a short but brisk walk. 
Consequently, at a quarter after ten, he took 
his hat from the hall-stand and strode forth 
into the night. 

One direction being as good as another he 
allowed his footsteps to lead him towards 
his Cousin Mary's abode. As he turned the 
corner of her street there came to his ears the 
sound of a bell repeated at short intervals. 
He accordingly hurried in the direction of 
the sound, and a moment later beheld the 
unusual spectacle of Miss Bryany herself 
framed in the opening of the street-level 
window. Seemingly she supported herself 
with great difficulty and only accomplished 
the ringing of the bell by a supreme effort. 

" Good neavens ! " said he, " what on 
earth are you doing ? " 

" Louis ! " she croaked. " Lucky ! — come 
inside — want you — climb over the sill — kill 
me to get round to the front door." 

Entry by way of the window did not 
strongly recommend itself to Lord Louis. 
However, the necessity seemed urgent. With 
a glance up and down the street, to be sure 
he was not observed, he mounted the palings 
and scrambled within. 

Miss Bryany had staggered back to the 
bed, on which she lay in a state of exhaustion. 
Lord Louis cast about for a restorative, and 
finding a bottle of peppermint administered 
a dose of considerable strength, which, 
accompanied by some sniffs from the smelling- 
salts, appeared to have a good effect. 

After a while the old lady began a series 
of convulsions and vibrations which alarmed 



him not a little. Perceiving this she found 
the strength to say, " All right, Louis, I'm 
only laughing." Greatly relieved, he de- 
manded the cause of her mirth. 

" Because/' said she, u Lavinia Brooker 
has come to life — she's a woman." And 
bit by bit the story of Lavinia's outburst 
was made known to him. 

" She called me everything — she, of all 
people ! Oh, Louis, it was worth baiting her 
for." A pause, then : " The paper — on the 
writing-table — read it, Louis." 

Lord Louis crossed the room and took up 
a sheet of paper scrawled over in his cousin's 
hand. 

It was the last will and testament of Mary 
Elizabeth Bryany, wherein she bequeathed 
all the moneys that should result from the 
sale of her property, real and personal, to 
Lavinia Brooker. There was one proviso, 
namely, that the legatee should be kept in 
ignorance of the fact until the sale was 
concluded. 

Lord Louis read it through twice. He 
then turned to the bed. 

" Cousin Mary," he said, with deep feeling, 
" 1 congratulate you." 

" Stuff ! " returned the old lady. "-Witness 
the signature and put it in your pocket. And, 
Louis, you must tell her that I laughed — 
understand ? " 

When he had put away the paper, she said : 
" You can go now, Louis. Come and see 
me to-morrow — I sha'n't go till to-morrow." 

But Lord Louis noticed a stealing greyness 
coming over the withered features. " Will 
you entrust me with a latchkey, then ? " he 
asked. 

" In my purse yonder," she replied, casting 
her eyes towards the dressing-table. 

Lord Louis opened the purse and, with that 
curious photograph sense to which we are 
all susceptible at certain times, the contents 
of the purse impressed itself on his memory. 
Besides the latchkey were four farthings, a 
threepenny- bit, a piece of paper bearing an 
address, a broken crochet-hook, some pearl 
buttons, and a stamp, torn off an envelope 
apparently with the intention of using it 
again. 

Putting the key in his pocket he bade his 
cousin a gentle " good night " and, as she made 
no reply, let himself quietly from the room. 

Five minutes later he was ringing the night- 
bell of a house but a few streets away. Dr. 
Oliver had been kept at a late case and 
had not yet retired. Consequently but little 
time was lost before they arrived together 
on Miss Bryany's doorstep. 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



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In Miss Bryany 's room all was silent. The 

nightlight burned steadily in its little saucer 

of water, but the lamp of Miss Bryany's 

spirit had guttered out a few moments after 

i Lord Louis bade her good night. She had 

thrown the last of her reserves into the field 

1 on Monday and there was nothing left for 

■ Tuesday's battle. 

" I am afraid/' said Lord Louis, " I have 
called you in vain." 
; Dr. Oliver made his examination and then 

withdrew, 

" You are remaining, I suppose ? " he 
inquired. 

Lord Louis nodded. " For to-night/' said 
he, shaking hands with the doctor. 

At eight o'clock the following morning he 

heard the sound of a key turning in the front 

door. Stepping into the passage he laid a 

finger to his lips. 

I Lavinia Brooker started in surprise. " Is 

anything the matter ? " she asked, and he 

\ nodded gravely. " I was afraid it would 

I happen. Lord Louis, it is my fa\ilt, you 

know." 
t "She told me before she died." Lavinia 

) turned away, and misinterpreting her move- 
ment he said, " Do not blame youi^elf, Miss 
Brooker; you had every provocation." 

" Lord Louis," sheanswered, and her voice 
was extraordinarily steady, " I don't. That is 
what I can't understand. That is the worst 
part. I'm not sorry — I'm glad, even — and 
if she were alive now I wouldn't ask her 
forgiveness." 
I ; " Come, come ! " said Lord Louis. " You 
[ do yourself less than justice in bearing 
resentment." 

" Was she sorry, then ? " asked Lavinia, with 
a touch of spirit. " Did she regret anything ? " 
" She said very little," he replied, eventu- 
ally. " To tell you the truth, Miss Brooker, 
•she laughed." 

" Laughed ? " echoed Lavinia. Then, " I 
see — she laughed." 

" I would not have told you," he said, 
" but she insisted tfyat I should." 

" Everyone obeyed Miss Bryany," said 
Lavinia, with a cross betyveen a sob and a 
laugh. " I would like to see her before I go." 
" Before you go ? " 

" Yes. I was not to be allowed in the 
house after she had died." 

Together they entered the silent bedroom. 
Miss Bryany lay with a fixed, sardonic smile 
on her features, as one who had passed with a 
joke between her lips. Lavinia shrunk back 
as though she had been struck, for the ex- 
pression epitomized to her forty years of 



unkindliness. To fathom its true reason would 
have taken a finer perception than hers, and 
it was no part of Lord Louis's executorship 
to offer enlightenment. * 

" You will leave me your address ? " he 
asked, when a little later he was standing 
beside Lavinia. 

" I have a room at 14, Chadwick Street," 
she replied, " but I don't know how long I 
shall be able to stay there. Good-bye, Lord 
Louis/' 

He watched her until she was out of sight. 
A poor little derelict setting forth to brave 
great waters without a rudder and without 
a sail. He would have given much to have 
told her the truth, but the will of the deceased, 
be it right or wrong, is a sacred trust, and 
Lord Louis was a man of honour. 

He determined, however, to lose no time in 
having the will proved and the property 
realized, conceiving that delay in this matter 
would mean something akin to starvation 
for Lavinia Brooker. In less than three 
weeks the legal affairs had been settled and 
notices of the sale appeared in the local news- 
papers and on the walls of Miss Bryany's 
house. 

In the meanwhile Lavinia Brooker passed 
through days which were a positive nightmare 
of monotony. Besides the six pounds five 
shillings which represented her savings, she 
possessed about thirty shillings in cash from 
her last quarter's salary. 

She put down her name on the books of an 
employment agency and gave herself over to 
brooding. She longed to be able to forgive 
Miss Bryany for her oppression and to ask 
forgiveness — to regain the tolerance and for- 
bearance which for forty years had never 
been shaken. 

On the fourth day she watched the funeral 
cortege pass the end of Chadwick Street. 
There was but one wreath, a gift, as she rightly 
guessed, from Lord Louis Lewis. He himself 
was riding alone in the one carriage which 
followed the hearse. When they had passed 
out of sight, Lavinia, acting on a sudden 
impulse, bought a few roses from a flower- 
seller and followed in the direction of the 
cemetery. 

She arrived there just as the funeral was 
coming away on its return journey. She stood 
back in the shadow of the gates, and not until 
they had gone by did she emerge and make 
her way towards the spot she knew Miss 
Bryany had chosen for her last resting-place. 

Already the diggers had begun to replace 
the earth, but they courteously withdrew 
at the approach of the Ijelatetf mourner. She 



290 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



did not stay long after a glance into the 
grave. 

" I have brought you a few roses, Miss 
Bryany," she said, " but I don't believe I 
mean it— and I suppose you would only 
laugh if I did." Then she hurried away, 
ashamed to the core for having so spoken. 

When she had returned to Chadwick Street 
and was sitting on the little bed with the 
broken spring mattress she reviewed her con- 
duct dispassionately. 

" I believe/' she said, " if I could pray 
again before the ivory crucifix I might be 
changed. Oh, oh ! I don't want to feel like 
this any longer." 

She snuffled and rummaged in her bag for 
a handkerchief. Inside lay the key of Miss 
Bryany's house, which she had forgotten to 
return. She took it out and held it in her 
hand, while the cheap clock on the mantel- 
shelf ticked out the minutes of her 
resolution. 

It was a little after midnight when Lavinia 
silently admitted herself to the house which 
had been her home for so long. After closing 
the front door she halted breathlessly and 
listened. There was 110 sound, and, taking 
her courage in both hands, she made her way 
to the back room. The place was in utter 
darkness, but Lavinia could have threaded 
her way blindfold through any of the rooms, 
so indelibly was the arrangement of all the 
furniture imprinted on her mind. 

She struck a match and applied it to a 
candle on the small table next to Miss Bryany's 
high-backed chair. When the flame steadied 
itself she began to absorb the familiar sur- 
roundings. Beside the candlestick lay her 
crochet, just as she had laid it aside when 
Miss Bryany dictated " Bed, Brooker," for 
the last time. The back of Lavinia's throat 
felt hot as she picked it up, and she experi- 
enced a sensation of chokiness. Then she 
turned her eyes towards the crucifix.spiritually 
white in its recess. 

With a happy sound of recognition Lavinia 
went down on her knees. 

When she had finished the dark places in 
her soul had vanished. 

" I knew it would be all right if I came," 
she said. 

On her way down the hall she turned for a 
moment into Miss Bryany's room. It was 
faintly illumined by the glow from a street 
lamp on the other side of the road. Very 
strange it seemed there should be no sound 
of breathing from the bed. 

Lavinia crossed and laid a hand on the 
pillow. * 

^ ilized by GOOgle 



" I am very, very sorry, Miss Bryany," she 
said. 

Something glistening on the dressing-table 
caught her eye. It was a silver corner of 
Miss Bryany's purse. 

Lavinia fumbled in her bag for the latchkey 
which had admitted her. " I'll put it in the 
purse," she said to herself — then hesitated. 
A thought ran through her brain that she 
might want to return just once more to bid j 
farewell to the crucifix. And so Lavinia i 
slipped out into the night, the house doorkey 
still in her bag. 

A catalogue was made of the effects of the 
late Miss Bryany, and a neat red label tied 
to each piece of furniture and ornament; J 
otherwise the house was left just as it was in ■ 
normal times. ^ .__ 

On the day preceding the s&le the front 
door was opened and intending purchasers 
and curious neighbours flooded the premises. 

There were quite a number of dealers 
present "who, though outwardly (tepreciating 
the value of the crucifix, inwardly determined 
to secure it at all costs. 

In the late afternoon, when the crowd had 
somewhat diminished, Lavinia Brooker unos- 
tentatiously entered the house. * By ,*he 
exercise of the greatest- control s$)©. had 
battled against the impulse to return* again 
by night, but to-day the doors were open for 
the world to walk inside. The sight of so 
many people in those quiet passages and 
rooms, so unused to the sound of feet other 
than her own, caused her to shrink back , 
abashed. She stepped aside into Miss 
Bryany's room to allow two dealers to pass. 

" Not a bad crucifix at all," one of them 
was saying. 

" Yes, but there's precious little market 
for that class of goods." 

Lavinia shuddered. Her soul shrank at 
the thought of this beautiful thing being 
spoken of as so much merchandise. 

She threw a final glance round Miss Bryany's 
room and noticed the old lady's purse still 
lying on the dressing-table, seemingly no one 
having thought fit to remove it. 

" And now," she said, when her footsteps 
had taken her to the door of the back room, 
" for the last time." 

A number of people had congregated before 
the crucifix, several of whom were afflicted 
with high-pitched voices. The babel of tongues 
was intolerable and jarred as hatefully as 
laughter in a church. She longed for silence 
to make her adieux to her old friend and 
comforter. Confidences were impossible in 



Ml I I '.' I 1 1 



UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



THE HOUSE AT BATH. 



291 




all this noise, and she wished cordially, she 
had never come. 

Then the crowd parted and gave her a view 
of the ivory figure on the cross. 

" Oh ! " she gasped : and again " Oh ! " 
For about the neck of the figure was a red label 
bearing the words '* Lot 39," A hut flush 



EBONY/ 



of resentment surged to her cheeks and she 
started forward as though to snatch away 
the offending message. Then, in the midst 
of her impulse, she halted, wheeled about 
and hurried from the house, every fibre in her 
being crying out against the shame which had 

been dfflflVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



292 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



The sale was announced to begin at eleven- 
thirty on the following morning, and Lord 
Louis Lewis was one of the first arrivals. He 
was met in the hall by an excited clerk of the' 
auctioneer's staff. 

" Lot 39 has been stolen ! " gasped the 
young man. 

" My memory for detail is as good as 
most men's," replied Lord Louis, " but I 
cannot for the moment recall what Lot 39 
m^v have been." 

"The crucifix!" said the clerk; "and it 
was here when I locked up the house last 
night." 

Lord Louis preserved his calm. " Has 
anything else been taken ? " he demanded, 
and received a negative answer. " Are there 
any signs of a forcible entry having been 
made ? " 

The clerk shook his head. " What had I 
better do, my lord ? " he inquired. " Inform 
the police ? " 

Lord Louis stroked his nose. " They 
would hardly be likely to recover it in time 
for the sale," he replied. " I think you had 
better leave the matter in my hands." 

Outwardly unmoved, he entered # Miss 
Bryany's bedroom. 

" Now, I wonder who has taken it ? " he 
said to himself ; then added : " Poor Lavinia 
Brooker ! I was going to buy that for you, 
and now the pleasure of the deed is lost to 
both of us." 

His hand fell on Miss Bryany's purse, still 
lying on the dressing-table. It was of no 
conceivable value to anyone, and had not 
been included in any of the job lots of odds 
and ends. It occurred to him that the purse 
would form a little souvenir of his executor- 
ship of Cousin Mary's estate. Accordingly, 
he dropped it in the outer pocket of his coat 
and moved away to the drawing-room, where 
the voice of the auctioneer was already lifted 
in supplication. 

The sale of Miss Bryany's house and 
effects realized a sum of six thousand three 
hundred and forty-four pounds nine shillings 
and twopence. 

Lord Louis returned to his hotel and, after 
dining, penned a short note to Lavinia 
advising her of her sudden accession to the 
sum mentioned. He then took a cab and 
drove up the hill to Chadwick Street. 

The door of No. 14 was opened by 
Lavinia's landlady, and Lord Louis desired 
her to deliver the letter at once. 



" She's upstairs," responded the excellent 
woman. " Third landing — door on the right* 
Why don't you slip up and see her yourself ? 
I can't go now, or the milk'll burn." 

Accordingly, Lord Louis slipped upstairs, 
or, rather, walked up with his firm but quiet 
tread. As he approached the third landing 
he caught sight of a mirror which reflected 
an image through a half-open door. The 
image was of a small woman on her knees 
before an ivory figure upon a cross of ebony. 

Lord Louis stopped to make sure his eyes 
did not deceive him. Then he turned about 
and descended the stairs. 

In the hall he encountered the landlady. 

" Did you see 'er ? " she asked. 

" No," he replied. " It occurred to me 
that as the hour is late my call might be 
inopportune. I must induce you to deliver 
the letter after all," and, pressing a half- 
sovereign upon her, he retreated from ttw 
house. 

He walked slowly back to the hotel in a 
serious and reflective mood. 

" It's up to you, Cousin Mary," he said. 
" It is you who made a thief of Lavinia Brooker 
— for lack of trusting her. But what a pity 
— what a pity ! " 

When emptying his pockets, before retiring 
to bed, he came across his cousin's purse. 
Although he remembered perfectly what was 
in it, he opened the catch and tipped out 
the contents into the palm of his hand. 
Four farthings, a threepenny-bit, some pearl 
buttons, the broken crochet-hook, the piece 
of paper, the stamp, and — six golden 
sovereigns, a five-shilling piece, and a 
latchkey. 

Lord Louis looked at the collection in 
amazement before the truth dawned on his 
brain. 

Lavinia Brooker might be a thief, but she 
had paid for what she stole with all her 
worldly goods — the savings of forty years 
at fifteen pounds a year. 

His eyes were a trifle dim as he wrote 
her a letter explaining that a slight error had 
occurred in the amount he mentioned in his 
previous note, and that instead of her credit 
being six thousand three hundred and forty- 
four pounds nine shillings and twopence, 
there was actually a matter of six thousand 
three hundred and fifty pounds fourteen 
shillings and twopence due to her, which in- 
cluded the private sale of the crucifix omitted 
in the last statement. 



by Google 



Original from 
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



HOW 
I ESCAPED 
FROM THE 

HUNS. 



. "* By 

SERGEANT LETOR. 



Amongst the most remarkable escapes on re cor J 
must be classed that of a Frenchman , Sergeant 
Letor. "Twice recaptured^ tried, sentenced^ 
punished r Letor at fast succeeded m getting 
clear aTPay from the enemy s country \ and he 
is now hack in France* He has here Written 
the story of his extraordinary experiences. 



SERGEAN'T LETOR, 




HEN the war broke out I was 
employed as a clerk, Mobilized 
on August 5th, 1914, the rank 
of sergeant was assigned to me 
iri the 228th Regiment of 
Infantry. My regiment was in 
action for the first time on 

August 28th, at Guise, and it was in this battle 

that I was taken prisoner. 

WEEKS OF DURANCE VILE. 

The Germans formed us into two groups. 
Surrounded by sneering brutes, who taunted 
us incessantly with : 4i Paris — lost I Paris — 
lost ! " we were conducted on foot to La Chapelle, 
where we remained three days. Then we were 
conveyed to Scnnelager, in Westphalia, a 
wretched journey of seventy-two hours, in a 
rough cattle-truck, with just sufficient food to 
keep us alive — some vile soup and a pittance 
of bread. 

Arrived at Sennelager, we were enclosed 
\i]>oa a piece of ground encircled with barbed 
w re. At night we had only one covering 



between two of us, We slept on the bare 
ranti, uillicmt the slightest protection from 
wind and rain. 

In order to have at least a dry sleeping-place, 
we constructed huts of earth, like those of 
negroes. It was not until we had been in the 
place three weeks that the authorities set 
about the erection of huge tents, capable of 
accommodating six hundred men. When, at 
last, on December 2nd we were housed in new 
barracks— huts built of wood — they appeared 
to us in that bitter weather (there was snow 
and an icy blast) palaces whose luxury exceeded 
all expectations. Only think of it ! We were 
able to fill up the chinks of the planked walls 
with paper. And then we had mattresses I 
Actually three mattresses between five of us. 
Lastly, there were two hundred and fifty men 
in each hut, so we were not lonely and could 
talk to one another of France, of our families, 
of our hopes. 

Incredible as it may .appear, we were not in 
bad spirits* We found plenty of material for 
merriment, especially in the colossal rf blufi " 

' "IVtRSITT OF MICHIGAN 



294 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



of the Germans, who day by day informed us 
of their grand, decisive victories. Our food, 
too, was a perpetual provocative of mirth, 
prompting many jests. What food it was ! 
Pickled sauerkraut, salted French beans, badly- 
cooked potatoes, rutabags (or " Swedish 
turnips," huge and pumpkin-coloured), barley, 
truly remarkable bread, composed of very fine 
sawdust, chopped straw, potato-parings, with 
the merest dash of rye-flour thrown in ! We 
had just enough — and no more — of this meagre 
diet to prevent us from dying of starvation. 
We were now in February ; the war continued ; 
it was maddening to be a prisoner ! — and then 
the idea <&f flight germinated in my brain, as 
in that of many others in like case. 

SEEKING THE OPPORTUNITY. 

March arrived. At this time it was decided 
to employ the* prisoners on the farms and in 
the mills and mines of the neighbourhood. 
We were sent to Sickinmiihle, a small place at a 
distance of several miles from our camp. Our 
task w*as that of clearing a wood. In order to 
uproot the tree-stumps, it was necessary to dig 
deep into the soil. A ray of light broke upon 
my mind. 

My plan was simple. I took two comrades 
into my confidence. " I will place myself in 
a hole in the ground," I said to them ; " then, 
while the sentry's back is turned, cover me 
with earth, and leave me to shift for myself." 

As I rose from my bed on the morning ot 
April 9th I felt, somehow, that the hour so 
greatly longed for had at last arrived. At 
7 a.m. our party entered the wood. To each 
of my two friends I said, " Keep as near me as 
possible. I have made up my mind to chance it." 

Then I proceeded as usual to dig and wrench 
out the stumps. I put on one side a slightly- 
hollowed tree-stump, thinking I might use it 
to keep off the earth from my face when 
covered. With the collection of a few roots 
and some bracken, my preparations were 
complete. I felt anxious and impatient. Should 
I succeed ? Or was I, very stupidly, about to 
draw upon myself the fate of being shot like 
a dog ? 

Curiously enough, it was the dreaded sentry 
himself who unconsciously made my task easy ! 

BURIED ALIVE. 

There had been much rain during the night, 
and the morning was chilly. The sentry on 
guard a few yards from the spot where I was 
working tried to kindle some roots and ferns 
into a blaze. The damp wood emitted such a 
smoke that I and my hole were almost hidden. 
Moreover, the sentry, blowing hard upon his 
fire, was evidently paying no attention whatever 
to the prisoners. I, perched on the brink of 
my hole, watched him intently. 

Suddenly an immense volume of smoke, 
more dense than ever, issued from the pile of 
damp wood. Like a shot I jumped into the 
hole, drew my tree-root into the desired 
position, made a pad of fern-leaves, and placed 
it over my mouth. Then — I waited. 

Diqilized by v_jUUyiC 



Only for a few seconds. My comrades, 
seeing me disappear, hurriedly began to fill in 
the hole. The cold earth almost froze me. 
Presently I was buried to the shoulders. Now 
my friends would have only to throw some 
twigs and fern-roots over my head to prevent 
me from being suffocated ; then I should have 
only to lie still until the workers had departed. 

But, horror ! Instead of twigs, I received 
upon my head an enormous mass of earth. 
It fell upon me so suddenly that I had barely 
time to shield my mouth and eyes with my 
hands. I was in total darkness ; I struggled 
to draw breath. In literal truth, I was buried 
alive ! 

I learned later that the sentry had suddenly 
turned in my direction, and that my comrades 
had had no alternative but to act as they did 
in order to avoid detection. 

And now my position became worse and 
worse. Interred at 8.45 a.m., I should have 
to remain in my grave until eleven-thirty. 
The earth was crushing me beneath its weight 
and freezing me with its cold. I wondered 
whether I was doomed to swoon and die in 
this hole. 

Now * and again my friends came near me 
and told me the time. Thus I learned at first 
that it was. a quarter to ten o'clock; then 
that it was half-past ten ; finally, that it was 
a quarter-past eleven. A few 'minutes after- 
wards I thought that my last hour had come. 
One of the German sentries actually walked 
over me, crushing my feet, legs, and body ! 

Fortunately, he did not step on my head, 
or it would indeed have been all over with 
me ! For a minute or two I heard him dis- 
cussing something with another German ; 
then, to my unspeakable relief, he took himself 
off. 

My nose was bleeding, I could only breathe 
in pants. Then I fainted. 

I was recalled to my senses by a stinging, 
burning sensation in one of my hands. I had 
thrust my left hand out of the hole, and the 
sun was shining full upon it. My body was 
so thoroughly chilled that the sun's rays fell 
upon my flesh like a tongue of fire. 

Restored to consciousness, I cautiously 
raised myself until my body was half-way out 
of the hole. Fifty yards away I saw my 
fellow-prisoners returning to their quarters. 
Quite close to me a German was surveying the 
amount of work accomplished. At length he 
took his departure. 

With difficulty I freed myself completely ; 
then I took off my cloak and my red trousers, 
retaining only the wretched garments supplied 
to me, as to all the prisoners, by the German 
military authorities. 

All my limbs were so stiff and cramped 
that for some distance I was obliged to drag 
myself along on my knees. When I succeeded 
in standing upright, I reeled like a drunkard. 

On the Marie Road, at a distance of some 
three hundred yards away, the German in 
command of tha detachment halted for the 

UNIVERSITYOF MICHIGAN 



HOW I ESCAPED FROM THE III XS, 



295 



purpose of counting the prisoners. 1 had not 
a moment to lose* 

I ran to the other side of the road where the 
ground was marshy and boggy. Then at once, 
in order to throw my pursuers off the scenL K I 
diverged towards a mine in the opposite direction 
I took care to let myself be seen by some 
peasants, then retracing rny steps, I went through 
the woods in the direction of Holland, My sole 
gnide was a small pocket-compass. 

In adventures of this kind, a calm self-assur- 
ance is one of the conditions of success. I passed 



and came to Altern. It was one o'clock in the 
afternoon, and 1 felt faint with hunger. 

Boldly and briskly 1 went through the town. 
One precaution I took which I hoped might 
deter people from questioning me. I drew a red 
handkerchief from my pocket, and blew my 
nose violently. I continued this performance all 
the time I was traversing the town, Xob >iy 
pitid any attention to me, except one little girl, 
who stood staring at me for a moment, then 
suddenly disappeared within a gateway. My 
severe M cold " did not hinder my rapid progrw * 




r< RESTORED TO CONSCIOUSNESS, I CAUTIOUSLY RAISED MYSELF UNTIL MY BODY WAS HALF-WAY 
I) r *u*fnmaiketth\ OUT OF THE HOLE." I*tf Str^wnl Ldar. 



by the side of the farm where my former com- 
panions were, and perceived by the evident 
excitement that the alarm had been given. 
Already the Germans were searching for me. 
But where ? That I would have given much to 
know. At a distance of half a mile or so flowed 
the River Lippe. To this I ran. Never having 
learned to swim, I had no choice but to cross 
by the bridge. As I was crossing, I perceived 
three Germans coming towards me. Would they 
recognize me as a fugitive prisoner ? We met. 
They glanced at me ; I passed them. Farther on 
a woman, with a child at her side, was laying out 
linen. I walked straight up to her. " Guten 
*wggn t " I said, in passing, as if I were an 
acquaintance, I went up to the child, and patted 
his cheek. He smiled at me : I passed on. I was 
passed by others Nobody interfered with me. 
For about half an hour I walked straight on f 



and I reached the open country in safety. Here 
there was a wood, where I took a brief repose. 

Tormented by hunger, I searched my pockets 
for the sugar and chocolate which I had had the 
forethought to bring away with me. All had 
melted into an unappetizing mess, but my meal 
seemed to me excellent, and I rose refreshed. 
My first consideration was speed, my second 
secrecy. I drew off my boots, and walking 
barefoot through the woods, covered a distance 
of twenty- seven miles. By and by, after a spell 
of hard walking amidst briars, thorns, and felled 
trees, my feet \w 1 r bleeding. All the same, 
I walked on, Now I came to the embankment 
of a railroad, along which I crawled, flattening 
myself as much as possible against the ground. 
When overtaken by darkness, I was in the midst 
of a bare region, and under a heavy downpour 

of rain. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



296 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



In order not £0 lose my way, I was forced to 
remain where I was until dawn. At 5 a.m. 
I resumed my journey, and in a short time 
approached Borken, which is not far from the 
Dutch frontier. I took the prudent course of 
following the railroad. A train came along, 
and I had only just time to escape observation 
by flinging myself into a water-filled ditch. 

When close to Borken, I put on my boots, 
and boldly took the high road. The wind had 
risen to a violent gale, and a woman who saw 
me buffeting it kindly invited me to take shelter 
in her house. Needless to say, I declined. 

Upon entering the suburbs of Borken, the first 
person whom I met was a gendarme. He stared 
at me, but that was all. I bade him " Good 
day," and without flinching coolly walked past 
him. 

But such luck was too good to last. 

A " SPOIL-SPORT" CYCLIST. 

On and on I tramped, taking no notice of 
my painful feet. I had travelled two miles since 
quitting Borken, when I observed in the near 
distance a boy and a cyclist. I turned aside into 
a wood, where I remained in hiding for half an 
hour. 

I did not know that I had been seen by some 
field labourers, who had raised a hue and cry. 
Suddenly I heard behind me the familiar, un- 
mistakable sound of a bicycle wheel. Swiftly the 
machine overtook me, and the cyclist jumped off. 

" Your papers ?"he demanded, curtly. 

" I am Dutch ; I have no papers." 

As I made this reply a second cyclist, accom- 
panied by a police dog, posted himself at my 
side. All the urchins of the neighbourhood came 
running to enjoy the spectacle. 

I was beaten. For a moment I felt fiercely 
angry, angry at my failure, angry with myself. 
But immediately came the thought, " I am 
trapped this time, but I will try again.'' 

\ did try again. When, how, we shall soon see. 

I was taken to Rheda, and there confined in 
a cell while the officials at the Sennelager camp 
were informed by telephone of my capture. 

IN THE WHITE CELL. 

Two days later a couple of soldiers arrived 
to escort me back to the camp at Sennelager, 
where cell and court martial awaited me. 

By order of General Gayl, commander-in- 
chief in Munster, I was at first subjected to very 
singular treatment. The barber of the camp 
shaved one side of my head and face com- 
pletely ; that is to say, the half of my hair on 
the right side, the right eyebrow, the half of 
my moustache, and the half of my beard. 
Thus, half hairy, half bald, I was dressed as if 
for a carnival, in a garment half blue, half red, 
gathered in with a red and white belt. A pair 
of enormous wooden shoes took the place of 
my ordinary footgear. When I beheld myself 
in such fantastic guise, I began to wonder whether 
I should ever be able to renew my attempt. 
But this harlequin-like attire was imposed on 
me only for a time. 

y 



On May 6th I was escorted to Dortmund, 
where sat the court martial which was to try roc 
I was sentenced to three weeks of the " white 
cell," i.e., a cell with a window to admit the 
daylight, and to a diet of bread and water. At 
night I had a plank and two coverings. 

Incarcerated at Recklinghausen at the same 
time with five of my comrades, who, like roe, 
had previously tried to escape, I was considered 
a " free prisoner." This formula means that 
the door of the cell may be open during the 
day. 

I BEGIN AGAIN. 

In this prison I remained until August 2nd. 
when I was sent back to Sennelager. On my 
arrival there, my first thought was how I 
might prepare for another flitting. Brousset 
(caporal mitrailleur of the 250th) had the same 
intention as myself. We began at once to save 
the chocolate, sugar, and some of the other 
contents of the parcels received from friends, 
In addition, we were able to procure at the 
canteen two Tyrolean knapsacks. 

My compass had been confiscated at the 
time of my capture, but I had daringly 
" pinched " it from the examining officer's 
table at the court martial. It was indispensable. 
And now we — Brousset and I — decided to 
profit by the first opportunity. 

It was the middle of August. The Senne- 
lager camp was now in full working order, 
well organized, and strictly guarded. Picture 
to yourself an immense rectangle, four hundred 
and forty yards in length and two hundred and 
seventy-five in breadth, planted on a German 
drilling-ground. Some thirty wooden huts 
occupy the centre and three sides of the rect- 
angle. Three barriers surround it. The first 
is a fence of barbed wire about eight feet in 
height. The second barrier, about seven feet 
beyond the first, is formed of wire charged 
with an electric current of ten thousand volts, 
mere contact with which would kill an ox. 
Seven feet beyond the second is barrier number 
three, exactly similar to the first. Beyond 
these three barriers is the circle of sentries, 
who, with loaded guns, follow one another at 
an interval of twenty yards. Such was our camp. 

AT THE RISK OF BEING ELECTROCUTED. 

On August 2 1st, 191 5, Brousset and I decided 
to depart in the course of the following night. 
It was arranged that we should secrete our- 
selves in the lavatory near the enclosure about 
eight o'clock in the evening. Friends under- 
took to watch the sentries, and to announce 
their observations by whistling a popular tune. 
Should the sentry approach our retreat, the 
tune was to be " V'ld le Glntral qui passe" ; 
should he move in the opposite direction, and 
go farther away, it would be " Y a d'la goutte 
d boire Id-haut." 

We had been in hiding for ten minutes when 
we heard very clearly the notes of the signal. 
It was the latter tune. 

Slowly and cautiously we pushed open the - 
door, andiCFMijcftztnds and knees wriggled out 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



HOW I ESCAPED FROM THE HUNS. 



297 



into the night. Brousset, who was to cut the 
barbed wire with a pair of pincers, went irf 
front. I crawled behind him. Beyond the 
triple barrier we saw distinctly the figure of a 
sentry twenty yards to the right of us. Another 
was thirty yards to our left. 

The coolness of Brousset was stupendous 1 
He stopped. I could see his right arm move. 
I heard a click. The pincers had severed a 
wire. The click came again and again. Four 
times the pincers had bitten the wire. I could 
hear the beating of my heart. 

But Brousset was moving on. The first 
difficulty had been overcome ; now for the 
live wire ! That was within our grasp, yet to 
touch it would have been death. But it did 
not lie upon the ground. Its cup-like supports 
were fixed in posts, and between it and the 
ground was a space of about eighteen inches. 
We crawled very, very slowly, flattening our- 
selves as much as we could. Brousset passed 
under in safety. It was now my turn. 

I can truthfully affirm that I was perfectly 
calm as I crept beneath that murderous* wire. 
Gripping the ground, I managed somehow to 
propel my body with my hands. Oh, those 
awful moments ! My head got through — my 
shoulders—my back — and at last my whole 
body was safely on the other side! 

Brousset's pincers were already at work upon 
the third barrier. Again I heard the clicks. 
The most difficult part of our task was accom- 
plished. A few more creeping movements, and 
we should be outside the camp ! 

But when we were outside it, we were also 
out of the shadows, exposed to view, and the 
two sentries were scarcely twenty yards from 
us. Luckily, there was a little clump of bushes 
close by. Here we took refuge, and here we 
remained side by sidfe without stirring until 
eleven o'clock. Then, as we could discern no 
sign of activity in the camp, we walked away. 
At first the ordnance-yard afforded us some 
shelter ; afterwards, by way of the woods, we 
gained the hill. 

In the morning we were early afoot. Two 
sportsmen caught sight of us, and started their 
dogs in our direction. I had some English 
pepper in one of my pockets. With this I 
made a sort of barrier beside a ditch. We 
leaped over the ditch and climbed to the very 
summit of the hill, where we remained con- 
cealed amongst the juniper trees for the rest 
of the day. A light repast of sugar and chocolate 
proved an aid to endurance. 

At nightfall we set out again. After the 
hill came a series of woods and marshes, through 
whidh we travelled, avoiding the town of 
Rheine, and passing through that of Metelen 
half an hour after midnight. We were for- 
tunate enough not to meet a living soul. 

More marshes stretched themselves out 
before us in an apparently endless succession. 
It took us two days to traverse them. During 
the day we slept amongst reeds and rushes, 
partaking sparingly of our scanty provisions, 
which had to .serve us for ten days. Some 
Vol lii.-2<X 



mangold-wurzels that we found, and devoured 
raw, enabled us to save the few tablets of con-* 
centrated milk which we desired to reserve as 
a last resource. 

IP I HAD KNOWN. 

After nine days of walking and' privation, 
we arrived towards midnight at Ahaus, within 
a short distance of the small frontier town of 
Vreden. Again there were but a few kilometres 
between me and freedom. Would it elude us 
this time ? 

Alas, it eluded me ! Quite suddenly, without 
any warning, we came upon a German custom- 
house station. We were seen. At once the 
alarm was given ; soldiers pursued and fired 
at us. So great was my fatigue that I had not 
the strength to run. At the very instant that 
one of the soldiers fired upon me from behind 
(at a distance of less than five yards), I stumbled 
and fell. The bullet whistled in my ears. 
Seeing me fall, the man naturally concluded 
that I had been hit. Thus, while I feigned 
death, he, followed by his comrades, stepped 
over me and continued the pursuit of Brousset, 

As soon as this pack of hounds had gone by, 
I rose, and hid myself in a thicket. Here I was 
on Dutch territory, but, unhappily, I was un- 
aware of the fact. However, I thought myself 
already safe, until, half an hour later, I heard 
the tread of a patrol. Some minutes afterwards 
a ray from a powerful electric lamp flashed upon 
the bushes in close proximity to me. The Germans 
had returned, and finding that my body had 
gone, were now searching for me. With what 
anxiety I watched the movements of that tell- 
tale ray. Would it pass above my head, over or 
at the side of my bush ? Suddenly I was blinded. 
The ray had struck me full in the face. I was 
discovered. Then I became aware that four 
soldiers were covering me with their guns. 
" Surrender, or we fire ! " shouted a non- 
commissioned officer. I was trapped again ! 

I rose from my crouching posture and 
advanced towards the officer, who took me into 
custody. There were only four yards between 
my bush and the patrol. Coarse sneers and jeers 
greeted me, and I was astounded to hear these 
words, "It is most unfortunate for you, but 
you have just walked out of Holland." 

One thing consoled me. Brousset had not been 
caught, and was now in safety. 

THIS TIME IT IS THE BLACK CELL. 

I can scarcely bear to recall the incidents ot 
the days that followed. I was stunned, over- 
whelmed. On September 9th I re-entered 
Sennelager between two sentries. For the second 
time I appeared before the court martial, and 
received the following curious sentence : For 
having tried to escape, fourteen days of the 
black cell (without window) ; for having looked 
on while Brousset cut through the wire entangle- 
ments, another fourteen days of the black cell ; 
and nine days of the white cell for having put 
the authorities 10 ths trouble and expense of 
repairing ffl?$OTrQp MICHIGAN 



298 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



" All this will not deter me from trying 
again/' I exclaimed. 

The " black cell " was a sort of coffin, a wooden 
box without light or air, about seven feet in 
length, the same in height, and a little less in 
breadth. The food consisted of dry black bread 
and water. 

My comment upon the verdict procured for 
me an additional penalty, of which, however, 
I knew nothing until the day when I emerged from 
my coffin. From October 17th, 19 15, until the 
end of the war I was to be incarcerated in the 
prison of Recklinghausen. The Germans thought 
that they had found an effectual means of pre- 
venting me from trying again, and it must be 
confessed that the mere view of that prison was 
sufficient to discourage the boldest and most 
resolute of men. 

A GERMAN PRISON. 

The prison of Recklinghausen is situated in 
the northern portion of the Westphalian town 
of that name. It possesses but one advantage — 
from the fugitive's point of view — that of being 
no more than two hundred and seventy-five yards 
from the open country. Formed of high buildings, 
with connecting walls, it contains two hundred 
cells, of which some are large enough to accom- 
modate several prisoners. Twenty armed sentries 
constantly patrol in the round- ways and outside 
the high outer wail. Numerous warders are on 
duty inside. Three officers are in command. 
Two professional watchmen and a j>olice-dog, 
unchained at night, when he has the run of the 
courtyards, complete the personnel. A guard is 
posted on the first storey, a sentry watches on 
every landing of the staircase. Finally, in the 
courtyards sentries mount guard day and night. 

There is in this prison just one alleviation — 
permission to leave one's cell during the day, to 
visit and converse with comrades. I soon made 
myself at home, and became especially friendly 
with five other prisoners : Adjutant Bienvenu, 
of the 119th of the line ; Sergeant-Major Durupt 
de Baleine ; two civilians, MM. Van Calster and 
Yves le Guen ; and one other whom I will not 
name, because he is still in captivity. 

We all had the same ardent desire— to escape. 
We quickly agreed to risk the adventure. My 
antecedents, it was considered, entitled me to 
act as organizer,. I set to worlc immediately. 

DANGUNG IN SPACE. 

As our preparations required time, care, and 
method, it was unanimously decided that our 
venture should be made about Christmas. 

Of our six cells, Van Calster's was chosen as 
being the most suitable. In the first place, it 
was necessary to saw through the thick bars 
which blocked the small window. A saw was 
indispensable, and I managed to procure one. 
I am not going to tell the authorities how I 
did so. 

We all but severed the bars, leaving a scrap 
of iron intact at the top and base. Firm in 
appearance, a very slight effort would suffice 
to remove them. 



On the appointed day we six held a secret 
meeting in Van Calster's cell. From its window it 
would, we thought, be fairly easy to maJte our 
exit. One thing caused us some uneasiness. 
The law courts adjoined our part of the jail. 
We could even see the clerks there, working at 
their desks, and a gas jet hardly ten yards from 
the cell unkindly illuminated all that portion 
of the walls which we should have to cross. 
It was impossible for us to get away t>efore 
supper. Each of us received his usual dole. 
Immediately afterwards we again assembled in 
Van Calster's cell. 

And now the fateful hour had come. At 
7.20 p.m. I gave the signal. A single word would 
have been an indiscretion, with the sentry 
pacing to and fro in the corridor just outside 
the cell door. We grasped one another's hands. 
Then with one sharp stroke each bar was de- 
tached. One end of a rope, formed of towels 
cut into strips and knotted together, was made 
fast to the window ; the other end was let fall 
into space. With the aid of this rope we hoped 
to be able to get over the first of the two walls. 
The adjutant went first. We watched him as he 
bestrode the window-ledge and grasped the rope. 
He disappeared. 

I went next. I grasped the rope firmly, and 
let myself slide downwards. Great was my sur- 
prise and dismay when I suddenly discovered 
that I no longer felt any support. The rope had 
broken ! 

I fell heavily on the ground from a height of 
fifteen feet. I bumped my head, was stunned and 
dizzy, bruised and bleeding. But I had no time 
to worry about such trifles. Happily, I tumbled 
on the right side of the wall. I crossed the court- 
yard at full speed, leaving behind me a trail . 
of blood, very conspicuous on the w r hite snow. 
I raised my eyes to Van Calster's window. One 
by one my comrades were descending. 

More prudent than I, they observed the 
breakage of the rope, and reached the ground 
outside the wall without accident. 

A COMRADE STOPPED ON THE ROAD 
TO FREEDOM. 

We were reunited. Our next task was the 
scaling of the second wall. By a lucky chance, 
the dog was halving his supper with the corps 
de garde, and in default of a ladder we utilized 
his empty kennel. We placed it against the wall. 
Then the tallest of us stood upon it ; a second 
man mounted on the shoulders of the first, 
and scrambled to the top of the wall. With the 
help of my big belt, he then assisted the rest of 
us, each in turn, to clamber up beside him. 

Now we had only to jump off into the street. 
This, one by one, we did. I, still somewhat 
dizzy, fell literally into the arms of my com- 
panions. 

" Halt ! Wer da? Who goes there ? " 

What a mischance ! Some boys had seen us 
climbing the second wall, and given the alarm. 
Like a gust of wind we flew through a street, a 
garden, another street. There was a hard frost ; 

n^Mw^tefi on the sbppery 



3°o 



THE STRAND MAGAZINE. 



ground, With a smothered oath he picked 
himself up and ran on again, Wc came to a 
road with a footpath on either side. Into this 
we turned. We heard behind us the patter of 
hurrying feet. We turned our heads, and saw 
some twenty street-urchins chasing us. One 
of our number foolishly separated himself from 
his companions, and crossed to the other side 
of the road. The odious httle wretches, finding 
it easier to pursue one man than half-a-dozen 
men, left us in peace and concentrated their 
attentions on him, with the result that he was 
presently arrested. 



We walked, still unmolested, over frozen 
marshes and through woods carpeted with 
snow. 

The morning twilight surprised us on an 
absolutely bare plain. It a ft or ted us no shelter ; 
there was no undulation of the ground, no 
little cluster of trees in which we might hide. 
What was to be done ? At a distance of only 
a few paces we saw a farm, We did not hesitate. 
With the stealth and caution of Red Indians 
on the war-path we opened the gate of the 
farmyard and crept inside. In the barn an 
immense heap of straw covered the whole of 



nv ctu, 



ceu f * ort ^HICW 

VIC ESCAPED 




PLAN SHOWING HOW WE ESCAPKD. 
£»j-an-ji by Jtergtant Utvr. 



We continued to run, The time was now 
twenty minutes to eight. We had the whole 
night before us. We scurried along as fast as 
our legs could carry us, several times ducking 
into ditches to avoid being seen. Cyclists, 
obviously on the look-out for us, spun along 
the roads. But the night was pitch-dark, they 
did not see us. 

Soon we came to the River Lippe, which I 
crossed by the bridge during my first attempt 
at flight. 

IN SNOW AND MUD. 

We walked on until dawn, with only ten 
minutes of repose in the two hours and a half 
which had elapsed since we left the Lippe. 
We were in a wood when the darkness began 
to disperse. We dug holes in the snow, in which 
we crouched , perished with cold. 

Fortunately for us, the days were short in 
winter. At 4.30 p.m. we were able to proceed- 

Digitized by LiOOQlC 



the ground. What a godsend I We nestled 
into it